Yellow twig dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ – syn. C. stolonifera) shows up brightly in winter, particularly against snow or dark colored conifers. Thought relatively nondescript during the year, the yellow twigs provide show stopping color in the bleak winter landscape. A native to most of the United States, this plant can take a variety of conditions but does well in a moist, sunny environment where it can sucker freely.
The best color can be found on two to three year old branches, so judicious thinning each year of about 1/3 of the oldest shoots will ensure long lasting color year after year. Alternatively yellow twig dogwood can be cut to about 8” above the ground every 2-3 years to renew the plant. This technique is a modification of coppicing, an ancient technique used on trees in England to produce straight hardwood shoots for building, crafts, and firewood. Yellow twig dogwood doesn’t make great firewood but the shoots can be used decoratively in floral arrangements or containers.