Redtwig dogwood, yellowtwigs (Cornus species and
varieties), various willows, Japanese Kerria are often
grown primarily for the bright color they bring to the winter
landscape. Since the youngest branches have the most color, regular
hard cuts are a good move, and early spring the best time to do
"Cut hard" means what?
Even when we show people what "cut hard" is, they say, "No, not
Doubt us as you will, but believe the horticulturists at Chicago
Botanic Garden. These are their willows.
Below: Salix purpurea, the blue arctic willow. It's
prized for the winter purple of its young stems. During the winter,
these were over six feet tall and every bit as thick as the
clustered stubs indicate.
For more of this, look at what we do in spring to summer-blooming
Those who have come to our garden workshops know
we often say, "Good, a brave cut. But we don't want 50 butt ends to
become 100. Cut it even more. Leave only main trunks."
Below: We grinned to see this evidence (arrow) of a cut made
and then re-made another inch lower. This is an S.
elaeagnos, the rosemary willow, a big shrub with new wood
that's downy red-orange in winter. Cut this hard, they'll jump back
up to six feet or more by midsummer and every stem will be new and
colorful next winter.