dying dogwood #555178 - Ask Extension


dying dogwood #555178

Asked April 23, 2019, 11:48 AM EDT

I have several dogwood trees that did not bloom this year for the first time. Last year I saw several branches on each die off (had not happened before) and I removed them . They not have this growth/discoloration on their trunks and branches. Can you help me identify what it is and how to correct it- or do I need to remove them? Thank you for your help.

Baltimore County Maryland

Expert Response

The growth on the trunk and branches look like lichens.  They grow harmlessly on tree trunks and no control is necessary. They may grow on mature trees and are not a reason for decline. See more and photos

There may be several reasons for decline. Dogwoods grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade in a well drained soil. They are understory trees. 
You may be dealing with issues such as drought, poor planting techniques, planting too deeply, poor drainage, etc. Branch dieback can be also attributed to cankers, anthracnose, powdery mildew, and insect issues such as borers. 
Here is our dogwood publication for more information http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/TreesandShrubs/...

Your dogwood looks mature.  If the tree puts out some new growth then most likely it will limp along but not return to its former glory. If the tree does not put out foliage, then you will have to consider replacement. 



Thank you for your response.  Based on what you said, it seems best to take the trees out - they haven flowered (or shown any growth) this spring.  I have two follow-up questions; 1) is it safe to plant new dogwoods in the same area, and 2) I have several other dogwoods in the yard - is there anything I can do to prevent the same issue from occurring with them?

Thank you for your time.

The Question Asker Replied April 30, 2019, 12:35 PM EDT
Yes, you can plant dogwoods in the same area. You should do so soon. They should be planted in the spring and not the fall. Look for disease-resistant dogwoods like  Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Joy’, ‘Jean’s Appalachian Snow’, ‘Karen’s Appalachian Blush’, and ‘Kay’s Appalachian Mist’. ‘Cherokee Brave’ shows some resistance to powdery mildew but can become susceptible, if environmental conditions change. Most Cornus kousa cultivars and hybrid dogwood (C. kousa x C. florida) cultivars such as “Aurora’, ‘Celestial’ (formerly ‘Galaxy’), ‘Constellation’, ‘Stardust’, and ‘Stellar Pink’ are also recommended.
The best thing you can do preventively is to plant the trees correctly. So many trees are planted too deeply and are overmulched. Also, water the trees as they become established. Please see the following information from our website about tree planting. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/tree-shrub-planting


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