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Alternate Leaf Dogwood

Alternate Leaf Dogwood

Alternate Leaf Dogwood

The alternate-leaf dogwood is a shrub or small tree that has horizontal branches that form tiers. The branches are parallel to the ground creating a layered tiered look with upturned branches like a pagoda. This plant may grow from 15 to 25 feet tall and 20 to 32 feet wide. Fragrant creamy-white flowers bloom from May to June. Bluish-black fruits appear from July to August. A distinctive feature of this shrub is itsInsects, Diseases, and Other Problems: The alternate leaf dogwood does not have any serious diseases or insect problems. Calico scale, dogwood borer, dogwood sawfly, Japanese maple scale, leafhoppers, and oyster shell scale may be seen. Anthracnose, leaf and flower blight (botrytis), crown canker, bacterial leaf scorch, powdery mildew, and septoria leaf spot may occur. It can get sunscald, and it does not tolerate salt. Wind and ice damage are common problems. (Shrub or small tree with short trunk and flat-topped, spreading crown of long, horizontal branches. Alternate-leaf dogwood or pogoda dogwood is a deciduous shrub or small tree, 20-35 ft. tall, with decidedly horizontal branching. Branch ends are upturned. Bark and twigs are green to reddish-purple. Wide, flat-topped clusters of fragrant, white-cream flowers become clusters of reddish-purple berries. Fall foliage is a dull maroon.Our tallest native dogwood can look like a 6 foot (1.8 m) shrub or a 20 foot (6.1 m) small tree. It is one of the most underrated shrubs, whether native or non-native. The bright green bark is streaked with white, except on newer wood, where it is dark purple. Clusters of creamy white flowers turn into dark purple berries. Its branches tend to be long and horizontal. Leaves are typical of dogwoods, with distinct veins running towards the tip. Buds are small and alternate.

Berries are a preferred food of ruffed grouse, northern flicker, downy woodpecker, eastern kingbird, gray catbird, American robin, wood thrush, hermit thrush, Swainson’s thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, cedar waxwing, red-eyed vireo, evening grosbeak, purple finch and pine grosbeak. Chipmunks and other small mammals make use of the fruit, while buds are eaten by ruffed grouse and ring-necked pheasant. Alternate leafed dogwood provides cover and nesting sites to many species of birds.Since this is one of our shrubs that is most tolerant of shade, it can be used extensively in woodland plantings. Plant one or two seedlings wherever there is enough light for them to get established, or in small patch cuts with other species of trees and shrubs. This will help diversify a forest, both in species and height, while providing an additional source of food. As a landscape plant, it is extremely versatile, growing in the sun by itself or in the shade of larger trees. Its physical grace adds a Japanese-like touch to any garden (it is often called “pagoda” dogwood). The dark purple fruit maturing on bright red stems adds to its attractiveness in the late summer. Alternate leafed dogwood will also increase the variety of songbirds and small mammals that visit your area. Alternate-leaved Dogwood is found scattered throughout the province. It is a shrub or small tree rarely exceeding 30 feet in height with a diameter of 4 inches. It has a low spreading crown made up of nearly horizontal branches and numerous short smooth upright twigs and branch-lets. It is easily distinguishable from the red-osier dogwood by its alternate leaves and its dark green or purplish twigs often streaked with white. It prefers rich soils and is commonly found on ravine slopes and intervals. The wood is of no commercial importance because of its size.The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies. The short-tongued bee, Andrena fragilis, is an oligolectic visitor of the flowers. Many insects feed on the leaves, wood, and other parts of Cornus spp. (Dogwood shrubs). These species include moth caterpillars (see Moth Table), caterpillars of the butterfly Celastrina argiolus (Spring/Summer Azure), long-horned beetles, leaf beetles, plant bugs, aphids, and other insects (see Insect Table). The berries are a popular food source of many birds (see Bird Table); they are also eaten by the White-Footed Mouse and Eastern Chipmunk. White-Tailed Deer and the Cottontail Rabbit feed on the leaves and twigs, while Beavers feed on the branches of this shrub when it grows near sources of water. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)

 

 

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