Seedling establishment and plant growth
Redosier dogwood seedlings were commonly found in riparian and forested habitats. Seedlings occurred in open  to closed-canopy  conditions at riparian sites and disturbed sites. The primary root growth of seedlings is vigorous , and seedlings can typically sprout after aboveground damage .
Redosier dogwood seedlings occurred at riparian sites in California, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Seedlings occurred beneath semi-open to dense canopies above the water line. Along class 2 streams and their tributaries in the Lassen National Forest in California, redosier dogwood seedlings occurred at sites with relatively dense canopy cover, low light levels, and moderate litter accumulations. Seedlings were limited to sandy soils where stream channels were wide . In cottonwood stands on the floodplains of the Little Missouri River in North Dakota, redosier dogwood shrubs occurred in 9 of 10 stands, and redosier dogwood seedlings occurred in 4 of 10 stands. Cottonwoods in these stands were widely spaced, producing a semi-open canopy . At riparian sites in northern Minnesota, redosier dogwood seedlings established only above the water line, but after "several" years of growth, shrubs survived having their roots and the bases of their stems submerged for most of the growing season .
In field experiments, dogwood seedling establishment was best on burned plots when various site treatments were compared in exclosures in Lincoln County, Montana. Seed was planted in the fall of 1949. Emergence was evaluated in June 1950 and was best on burned plots (22.7%) and least on logged plots where slash was scattered (6.4%). Seedling survival to fall 1950 was best on burned plots (60%) and least on logged plots with scattered slash (23.6%). Germination and survival were intermediate on scarified and undisturbed plots . Time since disturbance in the seeding area was not reported. Although this study did not specify the dogwood species used in seeding trials, a later Lincoln County publication suggests it was redosier dogwood .
Redosier dogwood seedlings were rarely killed by simulated rodent damage in field experiments in northeastern Alberta. Partial girdling of the stems is the most common type of damage to woody seedlings by meadow voles. Girdling was simulated by removing sections of seedling bark at levels of 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% of the circumference of redosier dogwood stems. Seedlings commonly died back to the point of injury and sprouted new growth below that point. Survival was 100% with no girdling and with half of the stem girdled. Seedling survival was 93% when 75% of the stem was girdled. Although survival was largely unaffected by girdling, redosier dogwood seedling growth was significantly reduced by stem damage (P<0.05) .
In greenhouse experiments, redosier dogwood seedlings growing in saturated conditions survived better than seedlings growing in well-drained conditions. Moisture levels maintained in the greenhouse were designed to mimic the relatively dry and wet conditions of forested peatlands in central New York. Mortality of redosier dogwood seedlings in well-drained soils was 57.1% and in saturated conditions was 14.3%. Seedling shoot length and biomass were slightly but not significantly greater in well-drained than saturated conditions .
Plant growth: Reviews are in agreement that redosier dogwood grows rapidly, but estimates of the life span of shrubs ranged from short to moderate to long [101,196,291]. Shrub growth can be modified by climate and light. When root and shoot growth was evaluated in the greehouse for 40 days at soil temperatures ranging from 39 to 99 °F (4-37 °C), redosier dogwood root growth was best at 63 °F (17 °C) and shoot growth was best at 79 to 84 °F (26-29 °C). Roots and shoots grew least at 99 °F (37 °C) . Redosier dogwood clones collected from 21 sites ranging as far north as Alaska and as far south as Colorado and grown in a common garden had average growth rates of 11.5 inches (29.1 cm)/plant/day for clones collected from areas with warm climates and 1.7 inches (4.4 cm)/plant/day for clones from areas with cool climates. In growth chamber experiments, all clones were able to acclimate to temperatures much lower than would ever be experienced in nature . Field observations from the Montreal area of southwestern Quebec suggest that the redosier dogwood growth form is phenotypically plastic and controlled by light availability. Beneath an open canopy, redosier dogwood shrubs grew as true upright shrubs but beneath a closed canopy, shrubs were low growing and prostrate .
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