Ailing Native Dogwood Tree

Discussion in 'Cornus (dogwoods)' started by Daniel Mosquin, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The following was received via email:

    Our back yard is blessed with a 40' to 50' (approx) native dogwood tree. This tree survived the building of our home and subsequent lot grading four years ago and has provided us with the most spectacular display of blooms each Spring and Fall since.

    This year however, all of the tree's leaves have turned brown at the tips and a lot of them have blown off in the wind. There is an unaffected dogwood tree at the opposite end of our back yard as well as several in the woods directly behind our fence.

    Could you please give us any information as to why the leaves are brown at the tips as well as any tips that we could use to keep our native dogwood trees healthy and happy?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can you describe the location and nature of the construction of four years ago in relation to the dogwood? It may be showing signs of decline or stress from the activity of that time or to the change in its environment. Native dogwood is susceptible to blight and anthracnose also, any pictures of the leaves could help nail down the problem and perhaps a suggested solution.
     
  3. We live in a new developement which was a totally wooded area four years ago. The contractor removed quite a few trees from the lot, which was subsequently graded for construction. The dogwood in question is in close proximity to our house, so much so that some of the branches hang over the roof. When the lot was initially graded we were very careful and made sure that the dogwood rootswere not disturbed.

    I would more suspect the possibility of blight or anthracnose rather than trauma of the construction of our home, as the tree seems to have been quite happy for the past four years. Could you explain the symptomsof both. Perhaps moisture could be a problem since we not watera lawn and flower beds in close proximity to the tree.

    If you can give me an e-mail address where I can attach them,
    I will take some digital pictures of the leaves and send them.

    Thank you,
    Karen Brown
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2003
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Here are the photographs:

    The first three are pictures of the tree to give scale and proximity to house. The remaining pictures are of the leaves to give an idea of the leaf damage.
     

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  5. my dogwood tree is healthy and only has brown leaves when it is very cold outside it is natural
     

  6. If you have cedar roof you may want to check if it is suppling
    your dogwood with run off. Also since the tree does overhang
    the house and eves. Make sure that you have your gutters cleaned in the early spring/ midsummer and late fall as the build up makes an excelent breeding ground for biological wonders
    wich the visiting birds will spread
     
  7. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood) is susceptible to the leaf disfiguring disease commonly known as anthracnose, and it appears that this is what your tree is displaying. Any stress on the tree -- for example, from prolonged drought, root damage, a change in grade over the root zone, reflected heat, prolonged cold, excessive shade or summer over-watering (these trees are adapted to summer dry spells) will predispose the tree to this disease. The good news is that this species generally survives even extreme infections, although affected trees often look as though they might not.

    Mulch the tree lightly and avoid excessive irrigation in the summer. Do not fertilize the tree. Reduce foot traffic over the roots if at all possible and rake up leaves to prevent rain-splash spread of the disease back into the crown. Dogwoods are fairly short-lived (<100 years) and may take many years to deteriorate and die, once they're on the downward slide. By the way, did the pattern of anthracnose match wetting of the foliage by sprinklers?
     

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