Which shrubs have attractive bark in winter?
One of the most beautiful sights in winter is the bright red twigs of redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea) set against a backdrop of newly fallen snow. Native to Iowa, the redosier dogwood grows 6 to 10 feet tall. Several colorful varieties are available. ‘Cardinal’ has bright, cherry red stems. ‘Alleman’s Compact’ is a red-stemmed, compact variety that grows 4 to 5 feet tall. Arctic Fire™ is a red-stemmed, 3- to 4-foot-tall shrub. ‘Flaviramea’ is a 5- to 6-foot-tall shrub with yellow stems.
There are also several varieties of willow that possess colorful bark. The ‘Flame’ willow (Salix ‘Flame’) has reddish orange stems. The stems of the coral bark willow (Salix alba ‘Britzensis’) vary from yellow-orange to orange-red.
The redosier dogwood and willows should be pruned on a frequent basis as young shoots possess the brightest colors. The ‘Flame’ and coral bark willows should be pruned annually. Cut plants back to near ground level in late winter. The redosier dogwood requires less pruning. In late winter, remove approximately one-third of the oldest stems near ground level.