Tree Profile: Cornus kousa ‘Summer Gold’

    Monrovia describes the Cornus kousa ‘Summer Gold’ as having a “distinctly and uniquely upright form, with exceptionally bright green and yellow new foliage. [With] masses of creamy flower-like bracts [that] arrive in early spring. The gently rippled leaves develop flashes of bright pink in summer, turning brilliant red by fall. An elegant small tree or specimen shrub for smaller gardens.”

    A few years ago we ran trials on this newer variety of Cornus kousa, and were extremely impressed by how well it performed. Since then we have been growing this unique variety from young trees, and its gorgeous foliage makes it a stand out all season.

    In our early trials, Cornus kousa 'Summer Gold' leafed out fully just two weeks after planting with a medium green colored leaf surrounded by a gold yellow margin. From 30 feet away this dogwood appears to be a gold leaf plant which when set against a dark green backdrop looks spectacular.

    This is a small stature dogwood that will be approximately 8' tall and 5' wide at maturity; perfect for some of the smaller gardens that deal with partial shade and are looking for a smaller tree.

    Like most kousa, this compact variety features upright branching. The hardiness rating for this plant is zone 5 (-10 to -20), more than hardy enough for anywhere in Massachusetts. Come end of June into July, Summer Gold produces cream white flowers that give color to the landscape when most of our other spring flowering trees have gone by.

    The real unexpected benefit comes in the fall when unlike most kousa dogwoods, the leaves become streaked with red. Providing a beautiful touch of fall color.

    This deciduous, variegated dogwood is not only great for providing fall color, but will thrive and shine in your summer landscape as well.