pink and white dogwood trees

Discussion in 'Cornus (dogwoods)' started by Unregistered, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. A yard in my community has a beautiful tree that looks as if they planted a pink and a whit dogwood tree together and they grew together and they appear to be one tree. The tree has two very distinguishable colors of flowers and I want one of these in my yard. How can I go about planting two trees together and when is the best time to plant these trees. Thanks.

  2. I talked to a person who had a pink/white dogwood. He told me that he got someone to graft a white branch to a pink trunk.
  3. btrevoryoung

    btrevoryoung Member

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    My family is in the ornamental nursery business. My grandfather specialized in dogwoods, especially pink ones. He even has a variety named after him.

    Pink dogwoods can only be propagated by grafting. That's when you take a cutting (scion) from the plant you want to re-produce and "attach" it to the root stock of some other plant. (The lower end of the scion is trimmed into a wedge, the root stock is cut off about a foot above the roots and sliced vertically, and the scion is inserted into this slice, with cambian layers aligned). When grafting pink dogwoods, white dogwoods are commonly used for rootstock, since they, unlike pinks, easily reproduce from seed, and our found growing wild all over the place.

    When a plant is grafted, all parts of the grafted plant above the graft site take on the characteristics of the scion (in this case, pink dogwood). Generally, there are no branches below the graft. In commercial nursery production, if such a branch emerged, it would be pruned off before it established itself. But, if such a branch, below the graft, was allowed to continue growing, it would take on the characteristics of the root stock (in this case, white dogwood). All foliage, flowers, and sub-branches emerging from this below-the-graft-site branch would be identical to a white dogwood. But you still have the portion of the plant above the graft, which is uniformly a pink dogwood. So you end up with a dogwood that is part pink and part white. If you prune it carefully, you can make both parts roughly equal, so it's half white and half pink.

    I'm not aware of any nurseries that specifically attempt to grow the mixed pink/white dogwood. If there are, I'm sure they charge a premium for it. But, if you shop directly at the nursery, rather than a home improvement store or retail outlet, most nurseries will allow you to pick out your own plants. Go to the pink dogwood section. You should be immediately able to identify the graft site on any plant. When first grafted, the site is covered with tape or some other kind of protection. But even after the graft takes and the tape is broken off, there will be a prominent scar where the graft was made. Now, just find a plant with a successful graft, but with a branch or bud BELOW the graft. That's your pink/white dogwood. The section above the graft will be pink, and the branch that comes off below the graft will be white.

    In addition to grafting, you can get a pink/white dogwood by "budding". This is similar to grafting, except you graft the scion (called a "bud" in this instance) on the outside of the trunk, rather than on the top of a cut-off stock. I'm not as familar with this process as I am with grafting.


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