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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - October 26, 2007

From: Coquitlam, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Trees
Title: Advice on planting Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) in Vancouver, BC
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in the Vancouver, BC - Pacific Northwest area and the front of our yard faces south to southwest. If I were to plant a tree other than an evergreen, would the Korean Dogwood thrive in this area of the country? Also, the neighbour's cedar hedge divides our properties - what small shrubs or plants would thrive with this cedar hedge?

ANSWER:

Vancouver is listed in Plant Hardiness Zone 6-7 and the Universtiy of North Carolina lists Cornus kousa (Korean dogwood) as being suitable for Zones 5-8. As its name implies, Korean dogwood is native to Asia, not North America. Although it would probably survive in Vancouver, perhaps you might consider planting a North American native, Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood). It looks very similar to the Korean dogwood and occurs naturally in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. You can see a maps showing the distribution of C. kousa and the distribution of C. nuttalli and see that the native species is more widespread in the Vancouver area.

You can do your own search for suitable plants for your area in the Native Plant Database using the "Combination Search" option and choosing your own criteria for plants but, here are some suggestions for small shrubs that should do well near the cedar hedge:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Empetrum nigrum (black crowberry)

Gaultheria shallon (salal)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)

Rosa acicularis (prickly rose)

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (lingonberry)


Cornus nuttallii

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Empetrum nigrum

Gaultheria shallon

Mahonia aquifolium

Rosa acicularis

Vaccinium vitis-idaea


 

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