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Color, color, color—Firebird™ Flowering Dogwood has it! If you want a parade of color outside your window, then this is the tree for you. In spring you’ll be treated to a joyful show of pink and white blossoms, followed by a gorgeous display of white, pink, and green variegated foliage. When cool breezes begin to blow in fall, this stellar ornamental tree sports ruby red fruits, while its leaves turn plum-purple and fluorescent pink. Don’t be sad thinking that the show is over when winter comes—you’ll still see the flash of blue and red wings as blue jays and cardinals swoop in to eat the berries!
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Spacing: 15-20'
- Exposure: Sun/Part Shade
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In the 1990s, Commercial Nursery in Decherd, Tennessee released a red-flowering Dogwood that had an amped-up growth rate, natural disease resistance, and young leaves the color of plum jelly. That plant was Cherokee Brave®. Since then, the folks at Commercial have sown seeds of Cherokee Brave® to see what else might pop up. They got a variegated form! They’re calling it Firebird™. It grows more slowly than the parent (the lack of green chlorophyll in parts of the leaves slows growth), but retains the pink-red flush in the new foliage.
Red flower bracts with white centers appear on horizontally tiered branches in spring. The main feature of this awesome Dogwood variety is the white and green variegated foliage… as the leaves start to emerge they are tinged with red/burgundy. Firebird is spectacular all season long!
How to Grow
These Dogwoods thrive in higher temperatures, but prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Flowering Dogwoods also like more acidic soil conditions. Be sure to keep your Dogwood watered after planting, they like moist soil, but not constantly wet soil. Apply a low rate tree fertilizer during the fall to promote healthy growth and flowers next spring. Not all trees are perfect however, and there are a couple of common problems that occur: Anthracnose and borer. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes dead spots on leaves, twigs, or fruit. Borers are small insects that bore into the woody part of plants. Don’t let this discourage you - there is hope! Your best defense against these problems is proper tree care and maintenance, if your tree is under any stress (too much sun, too much or too little water) that’s when these problems will occur. However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. You get beautiful flowers in spring, fruit that attracts birds, and great fall color. On top of that, they really don’t need a lot of pruning, but if you feel it’s necessary to prune, please do so after the tree is done flowering in the spring.
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