Cornus Plant Care:
Pruning has options: Can be pruned back hard every year or two in spring to within a couple inches of the ground to force numerous new, and hence reddest winter stems. Alternately, a less drastic approach is to prune out up to a third of the older stems in spring, removing stems the size of your thumb and larger. If flowers and berries are desired this is the preferred method, as Redtwigs bloom on the previous season's wood, and the first method of hard annual pruning will not allow flowering. Average to moist soil is preferred. Stems color best when young (hence the pruning), and in sun. Do not prune until established - usually the third year.