Gray Dogwood

A flowering plant.

Cornus racemosa

The dense branches of gray dogwood provide excellent cover for many songbirds looking to rest or nest. Keep your eyes peeled for popular visitors such as cedar waxwings, downy woodpeckers and northern mockingbirds, or take a closer look for those who may be nesting, such as northern cardinals or gray catbirds.
This two- to three-metre-tall shrub is excellent for mixed plantings or wide, informal hedges, but can also stand alone. Many pollinators visit for the nectar and pollen of the early summer blooms. Tiny, creamy white flowers with yellow centers form striking, dome-shaped clusters.
Gray dogwood offers a delicious buffet of high protein larva and caterpillars for birds like chickadees and house wrens. White berries appear in late summer, giving birds like northern flickers and rose-breasted grosbeaks a quick energy boost for breeding and migration. As fall arrives, leaves start to turn red and orange.
Grow gray dogwood in full sun to part shade away from where salt is spread. These shrubs prefer moist soils, but will tolerate drier locations including poor or gravelly soils, such as those found in newer housing developments.
The roots of gray dogwood can help to hold soils in place, particularly on slopes. They’ll also send out suckers and can grow to form an informal hedge that birds will love. Alternatively, clip any suckers at the base of the shrub, just below the soil, to control expansion.
If you have space, plant gray dogwood with other trees or shrubs such as red cedar, serviceberry, Canada elderberry, smooth rose, or northern bush-honeysuckle.

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