The Uniqueness of the June Snow™ Dogwood

Christopher Wray
October 15, 2018

Cornus controversa ‘June Snow-JFS’
June Snow™ Dogwood

This week, we wanted to write a short article on the Cornus controversa ‘June Snow-JFS’ June Snow™ Dogwood. This tree is an incredible ornamental variety that quickly made it to our list of favorite trees this year when we started growing it for the first time. From a fast growth rate to its flowers, this tree is quite different than its Dogwood family members.

June Snow Dogwoods History

Two weeks ago, I reached out to the team at J. Frank Schmidt and Son Nursery for some history on the tree. They were the first to start propagating this Cornus controversa selection and I figured they would be the best people to contact about the trees history. A day later, Nancy Buley contacted me and wrote me some great background info on the tree. Nancy writes for JFS and was happy to share some information about the tree with us.

JFS was first introduced to the tree more than 30 years ago. The parent tree was an old specimen located in Media, Pennsylvania. The tree is still living today. Keith Warren from JFS was contacted by a horticulturist at Swarthmore College Arboretum in nearby Swarthmore, PA about the tree. "Growth habit, foliage quality, flower, fall color were excellent, so Keith agreed to propagate and trial some trees. It was indeed a good performer, so we named it and added it to our product line," Nancy wrote. In 1997 JFS first released the tree in their catalog. It has since become a popular tree throughout the United States, especially in areas of harsh climates.

Some unique characteristics of the June Snow:

This tree is quite the incredible specimen and I think you will agree after reading more about it below.

It is a fast growing tree.

If you are familiar with Dogwoods, then you know that most trees in this family are not fast growers. In fact, I would go as far to say that 90% of Dogwood trees sold in nurseries are slow growing trees, especially Cornus florida and Cornus kousa varieties. So that is why this characteristic is so special. This tree is a fast-growing Dogwood and will reach its mature size of 30 feet in height and 40 feet in diameter in under 30 years. By the time it has left our farm it will have 5-7 years under its belt so you will be able to count on having a semi-mature tree 5 years after planting.

The June Snow has a unique growth shape.

Another feature of this tree that really makes it special is its growth shape. The tree takes on a wide-spreading form and provides lots of shade while staying low enough to be in the medium category of size. This makes the tree a great fit in urban landscapes and locations where height can be an issue.

The tree is hardy.

The June Snow Dogwood is categorized in Zone 5 and is popular in areas of hot summers and cold winters. Nancy wrote, “it has turned out to be a good performer in harsh climates such as Ft. Collins, CO, where performance trials by Dr. James Klett of Colorado State University led him to recommend it for Front Range landscapes. It’s a popular seller in Kansas and other midwestern states where winters are cold and summers are hot.” This is a good sign for us in Tri-Cities where we definitely experience this type of weather.

June Snow's show off in the fall.

Although this is not entirely unique to Dogwoods, this is still a great feature of the tree. "Dark green summer foliage gives way to mottled fall tones of orange-yellow, red, purple and purple-red. Abundant clusters of blue-black, 1/4-inch fruits also create seasonal interest and attract birds to the garden."- JFS

We all love birds and it is great to have some trees in the landscape to naturally keep birds near and in our landscapes during the cloudy fall days. You never know when you might want to hear the singing out your window.

The June Snow has amazing white flower clusters.

I wanted to save the best feature for last. At least, the June Snows flowers are my favorite part of the tree. In May, this tree shows off its incredible flowers. The flowers of this tree are unlike traditional Cornus florida flowers in the fact that they show themselves off more as a cluster of small white flowers. Many Dogwood varieties have large white and pink flowers, but this tree has large, unique clusters of small star shaped flowers.

I’m thankful for Nancy who took the time to write me a little info about the trees history and popularity and hope you enjoyed learning a little more about this wonderful Dogwood tree.

See more about the June Snow here.

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