125 W Melvina St Ste 1, Milwaukee, WI 53212 | 414.272.0242

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Plant of the Week: Cornus alternifolia

Plant of the Week! A striking tree in every season, Cornus alternifolia, Pagoda Dogwood, is the only Wisconsin Dogwood with alternate leaves. Its strongly horizontal, layered branching habit sets it apart and makes for strong architectural interest. Flat clusters of small white flowers appear in spring, followed by fruits that change from green to red to blue-black. These fruits attract a variety of birds, including robins, bluebirds, grouse, and vireos. An understory tree, Pagoda Dogwood does best with part to full shade. A common disease of Pagoda Dogwood is Golden Canker, so called because infected branches turn a light yellow color. There is no cure for this fungal infection, but keeping the tree cool, shaded, mulched, and properly watered will help to keep it strong.


A young tree beginning to display Pagoda Dogwood’s signature horizontal growth.

The growth habit of Pagoda Dogwood is tiered and strongly horizontal, with upward curving branches.

Younger Pagoda Dogwood bark is red and striated. Older bark is light grey-brown and mostly smooth with shallow furrows.

Dogwood model Scrat showing off a young sapling.

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