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We've just done all ours last week and there were leaves further up teh stems. I always wait till mid April as we get heavy late frosts that can kill the wee buds left behind on the stumps.
As for propagating, Midwinter Fire suckers freely in my garden so I have new plants to give away every year. Alba sibirica and its green and mahogany stemmed cousins layer very easily all by themselves if I let them so you could try layering some stems deliberately. I've also pushed pencil thick stems of the rpunings into a slit trench in the veggie plot and made babies that way but, the last two years, spring droughts have meant they failed so this year I've stuck cut stems in water. They look decorative in the house and, if any root, I'll just pot them up.
For me Midwinter Fire is a bit of a thug. It's true it responds less vigorously to hard pruning than the others but the thing suckers and spreads all over the place in my garden.
Hi I have a load of dogwood shrubs that have gone a bit wild - about 8ft high. I want to cut them back to a more manageable size - 3ft. Can I do this now when they are in full leaf? A few of them already have some flower buds. I assume if I cut them back I will not get any new leaf/flowers this summer - is that correct? Do I risk killing the bushes if cut back severely now?
It's best to cut dogwoods to about 1 foot every couple of years. You will get fresh new and colourful growth depending on the variety. Some people cut back hard annually in autumn or very early spring. They grow quickly and can manage several feet each season. If you do it now you are unlikely to do it any harm, but why not enjoy it for the rest of the summer and then have a go. It's too hot for you to be doing big jobs anyway right now
If the dogwood has well-coloured stems in the winter, cut back in spring, otherwise you lose the whole point of growing them! Cut the old stems to the ground.
Forcythia: cut out one third of the oldest branches every year after flowering.
Camellia don't usually need much pruning if they are in the right place.
This in answer to the original post, now 8 months old.