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Cornus alba 'Kesselringii' (Cornus)


History

'Cornus' means 'horn' in latin and is thought to have been given this name due to the hardness of its wood. 'Alba' means white and refers to the colour of the flower. 


Planting

Dig a hole one and a half times as deep and twice as wide as the root ball, loosen the soil at the bottom and mix in a general fertiliser and some well rotted organic matter.  Place the plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface, backfill, firm in carefully around the roots and water in well. This will ensure good soil and root contact, and give the plant a good start.


Propagation

Softwood cuttings can be taken in summer and hardwood cuttings in autumn.


Cultivation

Will grow well in any reasonably fertile, moist or dry soil, but for the best winter stem colour a moist but well drained soil in a sunny position is recomended. Hard annual pruning encourages colourful stems in winter but at the expense of flowering growth.


Aftercare

A reliable and easily grown shrub. Appy an annual dressing of a general fertiliser in spring to help the plant establish in its first few years. More mature bushes will benefit from an annual winter mulch of well rotted organic material, which will help keep the soil moist and supply the humus rich conditions that the plant enjoys.  It is a vigorous shrub and makes a large plant if not pruned regulary. To maintain the bushes shape and rejuvenate and replace old, dull stems; cut out all two year old wood to the base and cut down one third of stems each spring (Feb/Mar). This encourages fresh young stems which provide bright colourful shoots in winter.


Pests

Trouble free


Diseases

Cornus are rarely affected by disease, but can suffer from Cornus anthracnose. A fungal infection most prevalent in cool, damp weather. Infections show as spots appearing on  leaves in late spring or early summer. As the infection develops patches of dieback may appear and in severe cases the plant may die.


Other information

The National Collection of Cornus (Dogwood) is grown at Rosemoor, the Royal Horticultural Society's Devon garden.


Height/Spread

A reliable and easily grown, fairly vigorous shrub.  Lush green leaves cover the plant in spring followed by small cream/white flowers in summer.  White berries are produced in autumn and the leaves turn an amazing reddish-purple before falling to reveal the very striking purple-black stems in winter.  Hard pruning will help retain the bushy shape and encourage the fresh new black stems.




Annual care


February

To maintain the bushes shape and rejuvenate and replace old, dull stems; cut out all two year old wood to the base and cut down one third of stems.


March

Appy an annual dressing of a general fertiliser in spring to help the plant establish.


October

Apply an annual winter mulch of well rotted organic material to more established shrubs.

Plant name
Cornus
Latin name
Cornus alba 'Kesselringii'
Common name
Dogwood 'Kesselringii', Black Stem Dogwood, Poor Man's Black Bamboo
Genus
Cornus
Flower colour
White
Foliage colour
Red
Plant type
Shrub
Soil type
any
Soil PH
any
Moisture
Moist Well Drained
Aspect
Sun-Partial Shade
Hardiness
H (Fully Hardy) to -15°C
Leaf type
Deciduous
Life cycle
Perennial
Aspect
Normal
Min height
2.5 m
Max height
3 m
Min spread
2.5 m
Max spread
3 m