Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

A Scarlet Fire Dogwood Is Ideal For Small Spaces

By David Wall, Mount Pleasant Master Gardener

Scarlet Fire Dogwood (Photo: Arbor Day Foundation)

Horticulturists are always trying to find something better with regard to plants of all types. Sometimes a “new” variety can be developed in just a few years, but others take much longer. Such an example is the Scarlet Fire Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Rutpink’), which took Rutgers University 45 years to develop. It first appeared in 2016, and its popularity is growing fast. This is a relatively long name, so we’ll just call it the Kousa.

The tree itself grows to about 25 feet tall, 20 feet wide, and is adapted to our Northeast Texas-Southeast Oklahoma area. Kousa can be regarded as an overall tree improvement. It’s more disease-resistant than other dogwoods, grows fast, and blooms at an early age. Kousa produces large numbers of four-petal, pink 4-5 inch flowers with a green flower in the center. Even in strong sunlight, the flowers can last from six to eight weeks. Kousa can be planted in either full sun or partial shade, in preferably fertile soil. Actually, morning sun and afternoon shading is best and will prevent sun scorching.

The Kousa is deciduous flower that blooms occur in late May to early June, when the foliage is medium green. This color will change to burgundy in Autumn.

Scarlet Fire Kousa Dogwood – Cornus Kousa Rutpink
(Photo: Rutgers University)

Since it is naturally small, pruning should not be required. If an owner feels different, they should restrict pruning until late winter. The tree is low maintenance and tolerates both heat and drought when well established. Watering the first few years will probably be required. Trees can flower at four years.

With its strong spring colors, Kousa is sure to be a standout in your yard. The literature suggests this is the heaviest flowering dogwood. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, all Kousas have to be ordered from distant nurseries, and most local nurseries do not yet have them in stock.

Author: KSST Contributor

Share This Post On