Smooth Witherod (Viburnum Nudum ‘Count Pulaski’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’): A Comprehensive Guide

Smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) is a captivating and versatile shrub that has gained popularity among both landscape enthusiasts and plant scientists. This cultivar, known for its unique features and adaptability, is a sub-variety of the Viburnum nudum species. In this extensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of smooth witherod, ranging from its cultural requirements and propagation to common diseases and pests.

What is Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’)?

Smooth witherod, scientifically referred to as Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski,’ is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the Adoxaceae family. Native to the eastern United States, this plant is celebrated for its remarkable ornamental features, making it a sought-after addition to gardens, natural landscapes, and urban green spaces.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways about smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’):

  1. Plant Name: Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’
  2. Variety: Smooth witherod
  3. Characteristics: Deciduous shrub with ornamental flowers and berries
  4. Native Range: Eastern United States
  5. Cultural Uses: Landscaping, ornamental gardening
  6. Notable Features: Beautiful flowers, berries, and fall color
  7. Adaptability: Well-suited to various soil types
  8. Wildlife Attraction: Attracts birds and pollinators

Now that we have an overview of this fascinating plant, let’s explore its cultural requirements and the essential practices for ensuring its optimal growth and vitality.


Understanding the cultural needs of smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) is crucial for successfully cultivating and maintaining this captivating shrub. From water and sunlight requirements to soil preferences and fertilization, let’s delve into each aspect of its culture.


Proper watering is essential for the health and vigor of smooth witherod. While this shrub has good tolerance to occasional dry spells, consistently moist soil is ideal for promoting robust growth and flowering. Ensure thorough watering, especially during periods of drought, but be cautious of overwatering, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.


Smooth witherod thrives in partial to full sun. Providing at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily is recommended for promoting abundant flowering and fruiting. However, it can also tolerate partial shade, particularly in hotter climates where some protection from the intense afternoon sun may be beneficial.


When it comes to fertilization, smooth witherod responds well to a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees. Apply the fertilizer in early spring before the onset of new growth, following the manufacturer’s recommended application rates. Avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to lush foliage at the expense of flowers and berries.


This versatile shrub exhibits good adaptability to various soil types, including loamy, sandy, and clay soils, as long as they are well-draining. However, it thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil pH levels. Prioritize soil that is rich in organic matter and amend heavy or compacted soils with organic compost to improve drainage and aeration.


Pruning smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) is essential for maintaining its desired shape, promoting airflow, and rejuvenating the plant. Perform light pruning in late spring or early summer after the flowering period to remove dead or damaged branches and encourage compact, bushy growth. Additionally, selective pruning can be done in late winter to early spring to shape the shrub and remove any crossing or crowded branches.


Smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) offers a wide array of uses and benefits, making it a valuable addition to gardens, natural landscapes, and urban environments. Let’s explore some of its notable uses and contributions.

Ornamental Gardening

One of the primary uses of smooth witherod is its ornamental value. The shrub’s attractive features, including its showy flowers, colorful berries, and striking fall foliage, make it a favored choice for ornamental gardens, where it adds visual interest and seasonal dynamics.


Smooth witherod is a versatile landscaping plant, well-suited for use in various design schemes. It can be employed as a focal point in mixed borders, mass-planted for a striking display, or used as an informal hedge to create naturalistic boundaries within the landscape.

Wildlife Attraction

This shrub serves as a valuable resource for wildlife, providing food and habitat for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. The colorful berries produced by smooth witherod are especially attractive to birds, contributing to biodiversity and ecological balance in the surrounding environment.

Now that we have explored the cultural aspects and uses of smooth witherod, let’s shift our focus to propagation, which is essential for expanding the presence of this captivating shrub in various settings.


Propagation methods are critical for multiplying and disseminating smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) to new locations. Here, we’ll explore the common approaches to propagating this plant, along with the best practices for achieving successful results.

Seed Propagation

Propagating smooth witherod from seeds is a viable option, especially for growers who seek to produce a large number of plants. To propagate from seeds, collect ripe berries in the fall and carefully extract the seeds from the pulp. Sow the seeds in a well-draining propagation medium, covering them lightly with soil. Keep the medium consistently moist and provide warmth and bright, indirect light to encourage germination.

Stem Cuttings

Propagating smooth witherod from stem cuttings is an effective method for preserving the genetic traits of a desirable cultivar. Take semi-hardwood cuttings in late spring or early summer, selecting healthy, non-flowering shoots for propagation. Remove the lower leaves from the cuttings, dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone, and plant them in a well-draining, sterile medium. Maintain moderate humidity and warmth to facilitate root development.


Layering is another propagation technique suitable for smooth witherod. To propagate through layering, select a low-hanging branch and wound the underside of the stem slightly. Apply a rooting hormone to the wounded area and bury it in a shallow trench, securing it with soil and a stake. Over time, roots will develop at the buried node, allowing the new plant to establish itself before being separated from the parent.

Now that we have covered the propagation methods for smooth witherod, it’s important to discuss its growing popularity and the factors contributing to its widespread appeal as an ornamental shrub.


Smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) has garnered significant popularity among gardeners, landscapers, and plant enthusiasts, primarily due to its outstanding ornamental features and versatile nature. Several factors contribute to the rising popularity of this cultivar, making it a sought-after choice for diverse planting schemes and green spaces.

Visual Appeal

The aesthetic appeal of smooth witherod is a major draw for its growing popularity. From its elegant clusters of creamy-white flowers in spring to the vibrant display of colorful berries in late summer and the stunning fall foliage, this shrub offers year-round visual interest and seasonal transformations.

Low Maintenance

The adaptability and relatively low maintenance requirements of smooth witherod make it an attractive option for both amateur and experienced gardeners. Its tolerance to various soil types, moderate water needs, and minimal pruning make it a hassle-free addition to gardens and landscapes.

Wildlife Benefits

The wildlife-friendly nature of smooth witherod serves as another crucial factor in its popularity. By attracting birds and pollinators with its berries and flowers, this shrub contributes to creating biodiverse and ecologically balanced environments, aligning with the growing interest in sustainable landscaping practices.


The versatility of smooth witherod, showcased through its use in various landscaping and gardening applications, has contributed to its increasing popularity. Whether as a standalone specimen, a foundation planting, or a naturalizing shrub in woodland gardens, this cultivar offers versatility in design and functionality.

Given the rising popularity of smooth witherod, it’s important to be aware of common diseases and pests that may affect this plant, along with effective strategies for diagnosis and management.

Common Diseases

Like many plants, smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) is susceptible to certain diseases that can impact its health and appearance. Identifying these diseases and understanding their causes is crucial for implementing appropriate control measures and preserving the vitality of the plant.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew, caused by various fungal species, can affect smooth witherod, leading to the formation of a powdery, white coating on the leaves and stems. This disease thrives in humid conditions and can weaken the plant over time. Adequate air circulation, proper spacing, and maintaining a healthy growing environment can help prevent powdery mildew.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot diseases, caused by fungal pathogens, can manifest as dark, irregularly shaped spots on the foliage of smooth witherod. These spots may vary in color and size, leading to premature leaf drop and reduced aesthetic appeal. Implementing good cultural practices, such as proper watering and avoiding overhead irrigation, can assist in minimizing the incidence of leaf spot.

Bacterial Leaf Scorch

Bacterial leaf scorch is a potentially serious disease that can affect smooth witherod, resulting in marginal leaf browning, premature defoliation, and overall decline. It is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa and is transmitted by insect vectors. Maintaining overall plant health and promptly removing and destroying infected plant material are essential for managing this disease.

Root Rot

Excessive soil moisture and poor drainage can create favorable conditions for root rot pathogens to infect the root system of smooth witherod. Symptoms of root rot include wilting, yellowing foliage, and dieback. Implementing proper watering practices and ensuring well-draining soil are crucial for preventing this disease.

Disease Diagnosis

Diagnosing diseases affecting smooth witherod involves careful observation of symptoms, knowledge of potential pathogens, and consideration of environmental factors. Conducting a thorough assessment and seeking professional guidance can aid in accurately identifying diseases and implementing targeted management strategies.

Visual Symptoms

Observing the appearance of abnormal spots, discoloration, or unusual growth patterns on the foliage, stems, or roots of smooth witherod can provide valuable clues for identifying potential diseases. Documenting the visual symptoms and changes in the plant’s overall health is critical for accurate diagnosis.

Environmental Conditions

Assessing the environmental conditions, including weather patterns, soil moisture levels, and sunlight exposure, is essential for understanding the factors that may contribute to the development and spread of diseases. Identifying and addressing any unfavorable conditions can aid in disease management.

Professional Consultation

Seeking advice from experienced horticulturists, plant pathologists, or local extension services can provide valuable insights into disease diagnosis and management. Timely professional consultation can help address disease issues effectively and prevent their escalation.

Now that we have covered common diseases and the diagnostic process, let’s explore the potential pests that may pose a threat to smooth witherod and effective measures for keeping these pests at bay.

Common Pests

Smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) may encounter various pests that can compromise its health and overall vitality. Understanding the potential pests and the signs of infestation is crucial for implementing integrated pest management strategies and safeguarding the plant.


Aphids are sap-feeding insects that can cluster on the tender shoots and new growth of smooth witherod, causing distorted foliage, sticky honeydew secretion, and overall stunted growth. Regularly inspecting the plant for the presence of aphids and employing natural enemies, such as ladybugs and lacewings, can help control their population.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that can infest smooth witherod, especially in hot and dry conditions, causing stippled, discolored foliage and fine webbing on the undersides of leaves. Maintaining adequate humidity and using targeted miticides or horticultural oils can aid in managing spider mite infestations.

Scale Insects

Scale insects are known to infest the stems and foliage of smooth witherod, appearing as small, immobile bumps. They can cause yellowing, wilting, and overall weakening of the plant. Implementing cultural practices, such as regular pruning of infested plant parts and introducing natural predators, can help control scale insect populations.


Various caterpillar species may feed on the foliage of smooth witherod, leading to defoliation and aesthetic damage. Handpicking caterpillars, especially during their early stages, and using biological controls, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), can aid in managing caterpillar infestations effectively.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are notorious pests that can defoliate the foliage of smooth witherod, causing significant aesthetic damage. Employing pheromone traps, handpicking, and using insecticidal soaps can assist in controlling Japanese beetle populations and protecting the plant from their feeding activity.

Deer and Rabbits

Deer and rabbits may browse on the tender foliage and stems of smooth witherod, particularly in areas with high population densities of these animals. Implementing physical barriers, such as fencing, and using repellents can help deter deer and rabbit feeding and protect the plant from browsing damage.

Botanist’s Tips

As a plant scientist, I have gathered valuable insights and recommendations for successfully cultivating and caring for smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’). Here are some essential tips to enhance the health and beauty of this captivating shrub:

Observation and Monitoring

Regularly observe and monitor the growth, flowering, and overall condition of smooth witherod, paying attention to any changes in appearance, such as discoloration, wilting, or abnormal growth. Timely detection of issues can aid in prompt intervention and management.

Integrated Pest and Disease Management

Employ integrated pest and disease management practices, encompassing cultural, biological, and selective chemical control methods, to address pest and disease issues effectively while minimizing environmental impact.

Seasonal Care

Tailor care practices, such as pruning, fertilization, and watering, to the specific seasonal requirements of smooth witherod. Adapting care routines to seasonal changes can promote optimal growth and resilience.

Soil Health

Prioritize soil health by incorporating organic matter, fostering beneficial soil microorganisms, and maintaining proper soil pH levels to create an environment conducive to the well-being of smooth witherod.

Sustainability and Wildlife Conservation

Implement sustainable gardening practices and contribute to wildlife conservation efforts by incorporating native plants like smooth witherod into green spaces, supporting biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Continuous Learning

Engage in continuous learning and stay informed about the latest research, trends, and practices related to ornamental horticulture and plant science to enhance your proficiency in caring for smooth witherod and other plants.

Fun Facts

As we appreciate the beauty and versatility of smooth witherod, let’s uncover some intriguing and delightful fun facts about this captivating shrub:

  1. Smooth witherod is cherished for its edible berries, which can be enjoyed by birds and wildlife, as well as used in culinary creations such as jams and preserves by humans.
  2. The vibrant fall foliage of smooth witherod, ranging from shades of red and purple to orange and burgundy, adds a spectacular seasonal transformation to gardens and landscapes.
  3. The creamy-white flowers of smooth witherod exude a pleasant fragrance, attracting pollinators and enhancing the sensory experience of the garden.
  4. Smooth witherod has been traditionally utilized for its medicinal properties by certain Native American tribes, showcasing the cultural significance of this plant.

Now that we have uncovered numerous fascinating aspects of smooth witherod, let’s explore external resources that provide valuable information and insight into the cultivation and care of this captivating shrub.

Links to External Resources

To further your knowledge and expertise in caring for smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’), I recommend exploring the following external resources:

  1. University of Florida IFAS Extension: Viburnum nudum – Smooth witherod: This comprehensive guide from the University of Florida offers detailed information on the characteristics, cultivation, and landscaping uses of smooth witherod.

  2. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’: The USDA NRCS plant profile provides valuable insights into the distribution, habitat, and ecological attributes of smooth witherod.

  3. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’: Explore the botanical details, growing conditions, and wildlife benefits associated with smooth witherod through this resource from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

  4. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station: Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance: This resource offers insights into the deer resistance of various landscape plants, including smooth witherod, aiding in the selection of deer-resistant plants for gardens and landscapes.

  5. Missouri Botanical Garden: Plant Finder – Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’: Gain detailed information on the cultural requirements, landscape uses, and plant attributes of smooth witherod through the plant finder feature from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

As you explore these valuable external resources, you will enhance your understanding of smooth witherod and advance your proficiency in cultivating and caring for this remarkable shrub.

In conclusion, the allure of smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’) lies in its ornamental charm, ecological contributions, and adaptability, making it a treasured addition to gardens, natural landscapes, and urban environments. By embracing the insights and recommendations provided in this guide, you can cultivate and care for smooth witherod with confidence and expertise, enriching your gardening endeavors and contributing to the preservation of horticultural diversity and ecological balance.

Remember to celebrate the beauty of smooth witherod, and continue exploring the wondrous world of ornamental plants with curiosity and reverence.

Happy gardening!

In this article, we have covered a comprehensive guide to smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Count Pulaski’), encompassing its cultural requirements, uses, propagation methods, popularity, common diseases, pests, botanist’s tips, fun facts, and links to external resources. By exploring this extensive guide, readers can deepen their knowledge and appreciation of this captivating shrub, while gaining practical insights for its successful cultivation and care.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.