Bud’s Yellow DogwoodCornus sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow'
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Cornus sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is an excellent choice for winter color. This deciduous shrub can grow to 8 feet tall if unpruned, or kept around 3 or 4 feet with period trimming. It has golden-yellow twigs that bring great color to your winter garden, looking colorful and attractive at a time when color is scarce. Hardy even in cold areas, it’s a great choice for low-maintenance, and colorful when your other plants are sleeping. It grows in wet ground, and looks great beside water, but it also grows in regular garden conditions, and can be grown almost anywhere.
Grow Bud’s Yellow Dogwood in full sun for the most vigorous growth and best twig colors. It will take some partial shade too, without much effect. It grows in almost all soils, including clays and urban soil, thriving in those wet and badly-drained places where it can hard to find plants. It is hardy even in zone 3, and also grows in all warm zones. It has special resistance to destructive twig canker, and also to most leaf-spot diseases. Deer don’t normally eat it, and it has no significant pests.
Winter can be a dull time in the garden, especially in colder zones. From late fall to the arrival of new leaves in spring, it can be hard to find color, especially where the choices of evergreens are limited. That’s when color stems become so important, creating eye-catching effects against water – both flowing and frozen – and against black earth, grass, but especially against snow. For a good palette of winter color in your garden you should use everything available, but although we see a lot of red twigs, yellow is less common. That’s a shame, because clusters of golden-yellow twigs sparkling with snow or ice are lovely, and in many ways yellow stands out more than red, especially on those gray, cloudy days. That’s why Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is such a valuable garden shrub, especially in colder zones. It’s bold golden twigs look great, alone or mixed with red-twig varieties. If you want more winter color in your garden, this great plant is by far the easiest way to find it.
Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is a branching deciduous shrub, growing to between 5 and 8 feet tall and wide, although it can be kept smaller with periodic pruning. It produces many slender, straight stems from the base, and young stems are a striking golden-yellow, especially noticeable during winter when the branches are bare. With time the bark on the lower branches turns dark gray, with a rough surface. The leaves are in pairs up the stems, and they are warm green, oval and smooth, up to 4½ inches long. Unlike many other varieties the leaves stay clean and free of spots, always looking attractive. In fall, as the nights cool down, the leaves turn shades of red and orange, darkening to deep purple-red as temperatures fall. These bright colors really add to your garden’s fall brilliance. In late spring small clusters of white flowers appear among the leaves. Although these are up to 2½ inches across, they are not especially showy. They develop into white berries by late summer, and these do add a striking touch, until they are taken by birds.
This useful shrub can be used in all your shrub beds as middle or background plants, making an attractive background in summer and then becoming bold winter decoration. Grow it in more natural areas too, such as around trees or along the edge of wild areas. It is a form of a native shrub, so fits perfectly into wild and natural gardens. It is especially effective beside water, where it thrives, and it’s valuable in places where the soil is wet – places where plant choices are limited. Planted in a row, spacing plants about 4 feet apart, it makes a good informal boundary between one area or another, or to screen a fence or untidy area.
Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is especially useful in colder zones, and it’s completely hardy in zones 3 and 4, where the range of available plants is limited. It also grows well all the way into zone 7, so everyone can use it to add winter color.
While full sun is best for Bud’s Yellow Dogwood, it also grows perfectly in areas with a few hours of shade each day. It will grow in deeper shade too, but not as strongly. It is very adaptable to almost all types of soil, including difficult wet places, as well as regular garden beds. It grows in clay soils, and there are few places it won’t grow, even in urban soils and low-nutrient areas.
One of the outstanding features of Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is its enhanced resistance to the leaf diseases and twig cankers that cause problems with these types of dogwood in many areas. This makes it a choice worth seeking out, and using in place of more common varieties that are more subject to disease, especially the death of branches caused by canker. Pests are generally not a problem, and deer don’t eat this plant in normal conditions.
It can be grown without pruning, but over time the length of the yellow twigs will decline, and it won’t be as showy. The solution is hard-pruning in early spring. Cut back most of the thicker stems close to the ground, leaving branches that grew in the last year, or even cutting everything back to just a few inches tall. This can be done yearly if wanted in warmer zones, giving plants that are 2 or 3 feet tall. In colder zones, where growth is slower, cut back every 3 years or so, or plants will weaken slowly over the years. This method is better than light pruning each year.
Red Twig Dogwood, Cornus sericea, is native to all the colder parts of North America, often growing along streams and around bogs. In Europe there is a very similar plant, Cornus alba, and botanists find these two species very difficult to separate. Back in 1899 a German botanist and nurseryman called Franz Ludwig Späth, found a yellow-twigged form of what may have been Cornus sericea, which was named ‘Flaviramea’. It isn’t clear exactly where the variety called Bud’s Yellow came from, and it is sometimes listed as a variety of Cornus alba. Indeed, it isn’t clear which of these species it belongs to, or even if they are too different species. Botanists and experts are increasingly tending to see them as basically the same.
Bud’s Yellow Dogwood is such a useful shrub, every garden needs it. Brightening your garden in winter is easy with colored branches, so why not start with this dogwood, add some red-twigs too, and you are going to find winter a much more attractive season in your garden. Order now, as these popular shrubs are always in high demand, and sell out fast.