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Gray Dogwood

Will Ship Spring 2024

Plant Type: Dormant, bare-root

Zones:  3-8

Soil Type:  Clay, Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade

Mature Height & Width:  6-10' Height and 6-10' Spread

Growth Rate:  Slow - 8-12" per year once established

Moisture Requirements: Dry to wet soils

Plant Characteristics

Gray Dogwood

Cornus racemosa

The Gray Dogwood is small to medium sized shrub, typically growing to a height of 6 to 10 feet. In spring, creamy white flowers will display for a week to ten days. In late summer, clusters of bluish-white berries will mature. The main stems of this multi-stemmed shrub are gray in color, and the twigs are dark red to purplish-red. This is an excellent choice for wildlife attraction.

The Gray Dogwood is one of the most widely adaptable shrubs we know of. This dogwood will do well on dry upland sites and wetland sites, in full sun to full shade. Commonly found along streams, edges of ponds, along fence rows, roadsides and forest edges. This shrub will spread to form a thicket, so give it a little room to grow. The Gray Dogwood makes an excellent choice for erosion control along slopes and waterways due to its fibrous root system.

The Gray Dogwood has a fibrous root system, and makes a great choice for erosion control.  This native shrub is generally disease and pest free. The autumn color is a mixture of purple, red and green, but does not have notable fall showiness. The thickets formed by Gray Dogwood offer cover for a variety of game and song birds and its fruit provides a food source for a number of game birds and songbirds alike. 

Common uses for the Gray Dogwood include:

  • Excellent choice for erosion control on embankments or along waterways
  • Makes a good hedge or privacy screen
  • Excellent wildlife value, providing food and cover
  • Grows in dry to wet areas
  • Will work in the lower story of a windbreak

The Gray Dogwood has excellent wildlife attraction characteristics. Game birds such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, bobwhite quail and pheasant use the shrubs and thickets for cover. In late summer, these game birds, as well as a host of songbirds such as cardinals, cedar waxwings and grosbeaks, are attracted to the berries it produces. Squirrels, raccoons, black bears and beavers all enjoy the leaves and fruit of the Gray Dogwood. Deer browse on the twigs and leaves of this shrub. This is a must have for your hunting property, or as an addition to your wildlife plantings!

Product Questions

Does the Grey Dogwood shrub tolerate Black Walnut trees?
Question by: Vicki Harris on Oct 1, 2020, 7:35 AM
Hello the Gray Dogwood is not Juglone tolerant. You should plant 50' away from the drip line of the walnut tree.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on Oct 1, 2020, 11:22 AM
Does the gray dogwood shrub attract bears?
Question by: Victoria Shahan on May 19, 2022, 3:45 PM
Gray Dogwoods attract major pollinators, provide fruits for wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and raccoons, and even serve as nesting sites for various bird species. So, it is a possibility.
Answer by: Chief River Nursery on May 19, 2022, 4:02 PM