A group of yellow-orange Cornus sanguineas would really fit a spot in my garden. The cultivar I am interested in is appr. 1.2m (4ft.) max height, like in this picture:

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I plan to plant them even closer than in the picture. However, mowing will be a tremendous problem, if not impossible, in such setup.

I see some people cope with the problem by resorting to using ground covers, like Hedera in this picture:

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Or some other plants:

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Obviously, ground covering is a big problem while growing dense cornus groups.

Do you have by any chance advice on this matter?

(perhaps you can recommend a ground cover that would be suitable for such application both aesthetically and botanically)


Cornus sanguinea usually provides dense shade when its leaves are out. It also gets woody fast. As the flowers and fruit are insignificant most people only plant it for the stem colour. As the stems age they become a gray colour.

If your goal is to enjoy the colour of the stems in winter this plant requires regular maintenance. Specifically, cut back one quarter to one third of all the stems every year. I have also seen commercial maintenance in parks where they take a brush hog and cut everything down to the ground every three to five years.

Either way I do not recommend a ground cover underneath this plant. An organic mulch helps retain the moisture this plant likes and keeps the weeds out.

I do not recommend a ground cover under these shrubs due to:

  • yearly maintenance to cut back the stems will be hard on a ground cover
  • this plant casts a fairly dense shade when cut back regularly which makes it hard for a ground cover to compete
  • this is often planted in areas where it is not moist so a ground cover will compete for moisture
  • if you plant a ground cover you will have to weed it and that will hard due to the dense suckering habit of this shrub
  • Thanks for the answer, my reason for growing it is stem color, also screening value, but the most important is wildlife value. Maybe flowers and fruit are insignificant to us, but significant to birds and butterflies, I hope. This group of cornuses should be part of 'sparrow paradise' part of my garden. – VividD Nov 27 '17 at 23:07
  • What are reasons against ground cover? – VividD Nov 28 '17 at 6:31

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