Harvest Red Osier Dogwood For Basketmaking
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) is prized
by basketweavers for the bright burgundy-red bark of its branches. The shrub grows
abundantly in hedgerows as well as in cultivated landscapes and can be harvested for use
as a weaving element.
Difficulty Level: Average
Time Required: 90 minutes
- Locate a patch of Red Osier Dogwood bushes either on your property or on the land of
someone who has granted you permission to harvest.
- Dress warmly and wear waterproof boots because wild stands of dogwood often grow in
- Cut the branches in late Fall or Winter when the sap is down and the bark is its
- Prune the branch at the base to encourage new growth from the base of the clump.
- Cut both new branches of one year's growth and older branches as well.
- Be conscious not to take more from the stand than is environmentally responsible.
- Gather the branches and bind them with twine to make them easier to carry.
- Sort and grade the branches by size and quality before storing.
- The branches may be used without soaking for a few weeks.
- Store in a cool, shady spot so they don't dry out too quickly, but guard against mold.
- Branches may be dried and later soaked just long enough to become pliable before use.
- Once soaked, wrap in a moist towel to mellow.
- Use the weavers as you would in any other round work technique such as
- Thank the plant for giving of itself for your project.
- Use sharp pruning shears and cut on an angle with an outward facing bud scale just below
- Cutting the branches down to the ground encourages straight new growth the next year.
- Heavier branches can be reserved for use as framework in ribbed baskets or handles in
Basketry How To's