Pruning a Red Twig Dogwood

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Pruning shears
What You'll Need
Pruning shears

A red twig dogwood tree is a beautiful shrubbery or boundary tree. This deciduous plant provides beautiful blooms in the spring, lush foliage in the summer, berries for birds and squirrels in the fall and bare bright red limbs in the winter. The shrub trees can grow to be between 6 to 10 feet in height, so you must occasionally prune them to keep growth under control. Here is a quick guide on how to prune a red twig dogwood.

Step 1 - Time Your Pruning

As with most varieties of dogwood trees, you should prune the red twig dogwood in March or April. Pruning a little later in the spring will not injure the plant, but it might yield poorer results in winter. Generally speaking, summer is not a good time to prune this type of tree because it will not have the time that is needed to fully develop new red limbs for the winter.

Step 2 - Prune The Tree To Restrain Size

If you are pruning your tree to restrain size or overgrowth, prune dead or decaying branches to encourage new and brighter growth. You should also cut back older interior branches and prune them all the way to the bottom. You can also clip the younger outer branches and transplant them very fairly easily to grow new trees.

Step 3 - General Maintenance Pruning

When pruning for general maintenance, remove small branches that do not follow the natural shape of the tree as well as the oldest branches. Make thinning and shaping cuts in order remove the older branches and preserve the younger and stronger branches.

Step 4 - Root Pruning

If your red twig dogwood is lacking blooms, prune the roots to force the development of new flowers. Use a sharp spade to cut and sever the roots around the tree circumference at the drip line.

You should root prune the tree about a year prior to digging out and transplanting the tree. However, if you are short of time, 2 to 3 months should allow enough time for your red twig dogwood to overcome the stress of severing its roots and begin the process of developing new feeder roots needed to grow after the transplant.