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Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Posted by hairmetal4ever Z7 MD (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 22:51

I've seen some posts here and there about these - primarily 'Venus' and 'Stellar Pink'. Mostly hybrids involving C. kousa and either C. florida or C. nuttalli.

Can anyone attest to their vigor, disease resistance, and, especially, tolerance of hot, humid East Coast summers?


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 8:17

My Aurora does well here. Its still alive right now...so apparently can survive a very harsh zone 5 winter.

Hasn't bloomed every year for me but then again I have this plant in slightly alkaline soil with full sun.

Has exceptional late and long lasting fall color that appears to be somewhat freeze resistant. Take a look at the trees in the background.

 photo P1030258.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful: Aurora


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Great thread! I am one of the ones who asked about 'Venus' in the past. I never received any replies from someone with long term experience with this cultivar in a climate similar to mine.

I planted a small (2 ft.) but very sturdy 'Venus' last spring. It seemed to do very well, putting on two flushes of growth. After this harsh winter, I have no idea if my plant is still alive. I have been carefully mounding snow to cover the little tree throughout the winter, but during one -16F cold snap it did have some branch tips exposed through the snow. Although I remain hopeful, this plant is considered "marginally hardy" until proven otherwise. And who knows if it is not being nibbled by rodents under the snow line...

As whaas mentioned, the fall color was exceptional and it was extremely late to change color. Foliage stayed attractive until December.


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

hair,
I know where one "Stellar Pink" is located. It's been there for a few years, and has done well through the horrific summers. But also note that it was watered as well. But not a sign of problems with it so I would think you should be fine with these hybrids. I will add this, IMHO the pink of Stellar Pink is not attractive. I rather have a white one, or take my chance on a pink C. florida than bother with Stellar Pink. BTW, the pink C. kousa "Beni Fuji" probable has the best pink in the east. I say probable, because it can be difficult to say for certain from online sources. They are difficult to find as well. I bought one last year and it is COVERED with flower buds now. However I can't say how pink it will be yet, and since they tend to get darker over time, I probable can't say for a few years yet. It originated and was selected in Japan for pink color, and their climate will be very warm and humid, so it seems reasonable that they will have the best color in warm humid climates (most kousa are very pale in warm humid climates). Also they are reputed to be very disease resistant.

Arktrees


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

They were thoroughly tested - for the harshest conditions New Jersey could throw at them. I have a 'Venus' which does fine here. I doubt any amount of heat & humidity will bother it. However it's been slow to respond to a transplantation so it might have somewhat sensitive roots. I sometimes wonder if plants w/so-called hybrid vigor aren't consistently vigorous across their physiology. Chicago might be pushing it, but I just don't know. I take it Chicago had the coldest winter in many years as a lot of places did, and might have had temps below their usual zone thresholds. This may not be the best year for an evaluation, depending on how critical it is for your landscape.


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Good info - I'm bumping this thread since the C. floridas are getting close to bloom here.

I'm gun-shy on C. florida since a huge chunk of the native ones in our woodlands have succumbed to anthracnose over the years. In landscaped areas it's mixed - in some areas there are plenty of healthy specimens, in others, not so much.

The kousas are nice, but I like the "unique" and intermediate nature of the hybrids.

Of them I'll probably try a 'Venus' and maybe one of the other white-flowered ones.

Ark - thanks for the Beni Fuji C. kousa recommendation. Haven't found it yet though.


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Hair,
Check the link. Very pricey, but at least they have it. Also Broken Arrow Nursery in Connecticut listed them as "Out of Stock" earlier in the spring, so you might give them a call to inquire.

This is not where I got mine from, but while my Beni Fuji has done very well, I can't recommend ordering from them. The purchase and shipping of said dogwood resulted in contact from the Arkansas State Plant Board and testing for the presence of the causative organism of Sudden Oak Death. While my dogwood thankfully came back negative, I will not be suggesting this source to anyone.

I will add this my one year experience with Beni Fuji. It's been a trooper. Small root mass when it arrived, with large cut roots visible. Decided to pot instead of plant so that I could better care for it for it's first growing season in the south. Came out with small leaves as expected. BUT, after several weeks (probable 5-6) it started to push out a few more leaves, then it started sending out shoots, and by fall there were many vigorous shoots up to 12-18". When I planted it in the fall, the pot (a root pruning pot) had also been vigorously filled with roots, and the tree is 'COVERED" in flower buds. Top this all off, and the tiny new leaves just coming out endured 18F two mornings ago with little apparent damage. So while I have one growing season with one tree, and can't say this is true for all BF, this particular tree has been most impressive.

Arktrees

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornus kousa 'Beni Fuji'


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

While a thread on Cornus is up, I'll note that my Cornus florida var. urbiniana was not at all damaged by the winter, and is in fact about to bloom. Even though I daresay conditions this year were nothing at all like a "Mexican Cloudforest!"


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

OMG, thanks for the warning arktrees.
I haven't spoken to *them* on the phone, but I have spoken to the owner of another well-known PNW nursery. Some of them are just not taking the SOD quarantine seriously enough. (update: actually "GG" happens to be who I spoke to)
Believe me, if SOD is found in a garden east of the Rockies, they are going to take a freakin' flamethrower to it. You are NOT going to be happy with that turn of events. In fact, I've come close to just saying to myself "no PNW plant orders anymore" and this might push me over the edge.
With a handful of exceptions: looks can be deceiving but I've seen the Rhododendron Species Foundation garden in person. It's incredibly tidy...the most organized and spotless nursery I've ever seen, anywhere. (Also applies to the plants they offer...I've never seen nary the tiniest leaf blemish. They are disgustingly well grown.) And I'm pretty sure they grow every single plant they offer, and don't bring in anything from wholesalers except maybe Briggs micropropagules.

And btw thanks too for the report on your dogwood...good luck with it. I'm not a fan of pink dogwoods, but it's the kind a thing where one might get a request for a recommendation.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 23:10


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Not sure I was clear enough David. Gossler was NOT where I got my Beni Fuji from. I have no experience with Gossler. However, a Google search for Cornus kousa Beni Fuji will quickly turn up the nursery that I will not be recommending. Hint: G.G.

Godo to know about Cornus florida var. urbiniana. Hopefully you will put up pics when it leafs out and hopefully flowers. We have three dogwoods. The Beni Fuji above, Milky Way, and Wolfeyes. All very different from one another, with the BF and WE paired together for contrast. Looks great so far.

Arktrees


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

SOD is bad enough west of the Rockies, but when you consider just how much of the tree canopy east of the rockies consists of oaks...damn. I'd torch my garden myself if I found it in mine.

How does the quarantine work? Do they have to test everything before shipping or what?


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

This link may explain the issue more clearly. Most wholesale growers are routinely inspected and often pathogen-prone host plants are restricted in their export both in terms of destination and timing. But for most retail sources, it is a non-issue other than it can impact availability. Personally, I would be cautious of mail order nurseries since many simply do not have the same sort of oversight. But then, mail ordering is not a very pressing concern when you live in the PNW :-))

Here is a link that might be useful: WA state SOD quarantine restrictions.


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I'm leaning towards the "no PNW mail order" philosophy anymore either for the same reason...but so many things aren't sold anywhere else.

A few mail-order nurseries outside the PNW are getting better at carrying less-than-ordinary things (Sooner, Camforest come to mind) but nothing with the selection of some of the PNW nurseries, esp. for conifers.


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"But for most retail sources, it is a non-issue other than it can impact availability."
Not true at all. The whole point is it *isn't* a non-issue when the Maryland Department of the Environment sends you a rather menacing request to send leaf samples of every plant you've ever ordered from "GG". They wanted 20 leaves. For some smaller plants, that's almost enough to kill them if they are already struggling with the shock of ground shipment from the PNW. I think about 3 of them did die from the shock. I figured I dare not try to fake it w/other rhododendrons...this is a state where a clever employee might try to do some DNA finger printing to make sure you were being honest, and would toss you in jail for threatening our precious environment. (not actually a bad idea, in some ways. What would be left of our forests w/o oaks?) And a certain older collector I've met in the northeastern US also poo-pooed the risk. Well, sorry, no one, not even PhD plant pathologists, can be sure of the impact it may or may not have. So, Joe Schmoe rhododendron collector with a business degree certainly isn't qualified to comment. If there's anything we know about these hypervirulent Phytophthoras, it's that they are unpredictable. Frankly, the strain currently decimating Larix kaempferi plantations in England is even more terrifying to me than SOD. It has evolved to kill conifers, which isn't the case of SOD, yet. If I were a water mould, I'd find England rather chilly. I bet that strain could really go to town on the US east coast.

I'm very glad to know it wasn't Gossler. I've always gotten the impression they are completely above-board.

Anyhow, as I edited above, "GG" seemed dismissive of the seriousness of the issue when I spoke to them. And indeed, if you pieced together publicly available information about the quarantine a few years ago...the feds wouldn't name names so you had to cross-reference various state websites...it would seem GG has had multiple quarantine incidents requiring forward and back tracing. One of the only nurseries in that position. Hence my policy after my 2nd request from MDE, in 2011 IIRC, was to no longer order anything from GG.

BTW what does GG stand for? Grumpy Grandpa's Gardens, right?


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Generically Gratuitous...


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

To hair's original question...

Since 'Venus' was developed by Dr. Orton's dogwood breeding program at Rutgers, there is no more thorough testing to attest to "...vigor, disease resistance, and, especially, tolerance of hot, humid East Coast summers..."

Where gardeners may experience variation is from producers. Clones like this are most often budded or grafted on differing understock, and the performance of the understock will affect this plant's performance in your garden. Caveat emptor...

I have grown many of the original series of Cornus x rutgersensis ('Aurora', 'Constellation', 'Stellar Pink') and all have performed admirably over the past dozen or more years.

More recently, I've planted 'Starlight' and 'Venus', whose parentage is different and more complex. Their flower buds are naked through the winter, so are likely much differently affected (negatively) by the more severe cold experienced this past winter than previous years.

For Chicago area experiences, refer to records at the Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanic Garden - both have likely tested these clones over a longer period than the plants have been on the market.

Both of these plants have flowered quite well and grown quite well in heavy circumneutral clay loams here in the Ohio River valley region. The original plants at Rutgers are huge - probably more than 40' wide. To see these in full bloom is nirvana.

The Holly Society of America 67th Annual Meeting will be held at Rutgers in late October this year. Tours will emphatically include visits to all these great plants produced through the diligent efforts of Rutgers staff, led by Dr. Orton. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most layperson gardeners.


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The point I was attempting to make is that mail order is not the same as a walk-in retail garden center or nursery that purchases the bulk of its stock from wholesale growers. The growers are subject to inspection and possible quarantine and having satisfactorily passed that hurdle - as virtually ALL wholesale growers in the PNW have - there is no further impact on the retailers other than some restricted availability.

Most of the mail order nurseries in this area that I am familiar with grow their own stock or at least the bulk of it. How closely they are monitored, inspected or certified SOD-free, I wouldn't begin to guess. But since the horticultural dollars center on the wholesale growers that service the entire country, I'd bet USDA/Aphis focus is on them not the mail order sources.


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OK, I see what you mean. But, FWIW, everything I both have observed at GG and heard from various people, is that almost all of what they offer is coming from wholesalers. They don't produce much of what they offer, so they aren't what you've characterized as a typical mail-order nursery.* So maybe *part* of the reason they've been more beset by incidents is they have a high flux of plants coming in.

* - I'm not saying this is bad btw. I suspect Rarefind gets most of their stock from wholesalers, too. Although I know they produce a lot of their so-called exclusives, especially and obviously, the BLEs. (have observed them taking cuttings from their own Illiciums for production, and they do from their rhododendrons as well)


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" How closely they are monitored, inspected or certified SOD-free, I wouldn't begin to guess."

Believe me, if they are shipping out of state, they are very closely monitored.
Does anyone know, is there truth to the rumor I heard that the former Hammond's Acres of Rhodies was shut down because of widespread SOD contamination? I know they were getting close to retirement age, so probably didn't want to invest in a cleanup. I don't have the same concern of speaking of past nurseries.


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If you want to worry about SOD and any number of other potentially lethal diseases, consider the thousand of plants shipped by eBay sellers. Many - probably most - of these are unlicensed, uninspected and unmonitered by anyone. The horticulture industry in CA, OR, WA is a major part of those states' economy. No one takes disease issues with anything but the utmost seriousness, so inspections are frequent and rigorous as is the reporting of any problems to APHIS should one be found. Contrast this with what may be - probably is - happening out of sight via eBay.


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I agree mainegrower. It's extreme worrisome. At least the USDA cracked down on plant and seeds coming from China to the US via ebay. I don't think they currently have any authority over interstate sales there though.
If there's any glimmer of hope, it's that many of those sellers are just reselling plants from wholesalers or nurseries that are certified SOD free. For example, strange and wonderful things, the ebayer who buys stuff from the plant sales in the Bay Area. Well, even though the Berkeley Botanic Garden isn't a certified shipper, the Cal. Dept of Agriculture still requires them to be tested for SOD...that's true of all nurseries in the state whether they ship outwith the state or not. There's just more scrutiny of nurseries that ship. Remember they don't want SOD spreading any further w/in the state...the feds don't want it spreading outside the state. So, 2 overlapping objectives there.


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I thought California was making progress with containment. I guess not. It was just found in a new county last month.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.suddenoakdeath.org/


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  • Posted by beng z6 western MD (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 11:10

***
Posted by hairmetal4ever Z7 MD (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 12:03

I'm gun-shy on C. florida since a huge chunk of the native ones in our woodlands have succumbed to anthracnose over the years.
***

I've recently noticed the almost complete absence of wild C florida here anymore. Pagoda dogwoods are affected too. Really devastating. A few in yard settings w/alot of wind flow remain.

Redbuds are becoming the main spring-flower attraction here -- they are spreading everywhere, replacing dogwoods.


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Now that I think about it, you're right. Wild C. florida is quite rare here. Up in Carroll County, around Westminster, I noticed a few last fall (the red color is the giveaway) but not many.

Redbuds are everywhere - as you scan the woods, you see them stuck here and there. Then of course the planted ones, too.


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

UPDATE: My young Cornus 'Venus' survived the winter and is currently leafing out and forming its first ever flower buds!! However, it did not make it through the winter completely unscathed. The weight of the heavy, deep, persistent snow that piled up on top of my tiny specimen caused the leader to snap in two with a large vertical crack in the trunk. It started to grow two new buds right below the base of the crack, so I just pruned off the damaged wood and now hope that the wound heals well enough to support the growth of a healthy, young tree.


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Hey Ispahan,
Did any of your Venus buds make it through the winter?
I know you mentioned that it is forming flower buds but it normally buds out in the previous fall.
We had the worst winter here in Bruce County, my Venus got hammered with snow and the temperature dipped down to -35 celcius.
Lost a few branches, but it seems like I lost all the buds except for one. I can't confirm for sure whether it did bud out last fall or not as I was away in late fall and didn't get back till there was lots of snow on the ground.
Pretty sad as I had lush blooms last year and even today someone stopped to ask me about it having seen it in full bloom last year.


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Few years ago, got to -25F at my place. Killed all the primary buds on our redbud tree. Killed everything above snow line on our Maresii Viburnium (it budded weakly, with no flower buds above the snow line, but these ultimately died), and even native species had dieback and flower bud death. In especially severe winters, these things happen.

Arktrees

This post was edited by arktrees on Wed, May 28, 14 at 13:18


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RE: Rutgers hybrid dogwoods

Shannababy, sorry about the delay in responding; I just returned from vacation. Yes, my 'Venus' did have surviving flower buds and is currently in full bloom. It now looks no worse for the wear after losing its top half, and it is growing rapidly to make up for the loss.

Sorry to hear your plant lost all or most of its buds this year, but even the best of plants are entitled to a few "off" years, especially considering the difficult winter conditions. Let's hope it is back on track next season! :-)


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