What Are The Most Common Dogwood Tree Problems?

Dogwood trees are one of the most beautiful additions homeowners can have in their front or backyard. Although these trees are well adapted to South Carolina but are also vulnerable to pests and insects eventually leading to diseases and infections. This means they might require extra care to remain healthy and strong otherwise, you may need to call in tree removal companies one day. We will mention some common dogwood tree problems and how you can prevent them.

Powdery Mildew

Erysiphe pulchra is the most common type of disease in dogwood trees that attacks the leaf surfaces and tender shoots causing powdery mildew. A tell-tale sign of this disease is that you will observe new growth being covered with a white, powdery coating. Plus, you will also observe that the infected leaves have discoloration, yellowing, dead patches, and other signs.

To make it worse, the disease could also spread to other trees as the spores are spread by the wind. This disease is mostly caused due to poor air circulation. Powdery mildew usually takes place in the late summer with little to no consequences. However, if it takes place early in the summer, the problem could be serious and may require the use of fungicides.

To fix the issue, you will need to cut infected leaves, and branches and remove all fallen leaves. Improve air circulation by ensuring the tree gets access to fresh air and is not surrounded by other plants, shrubs, or trees. And, to make sure the fungicides are effective, you will need to ensure they are properly sprayed and cover the affected areas.

Spot Anthracnose

When the fungi Elsinoe corni affects a tree, spot anthracnose is caused. It is a common disease that many flowering dogwood trees suffer from. The disease takes place in stages beginning with the flower bracts, then the leaves, shoots, and fruit of dogwood. This usually happens during wet spring weather.

This disease is identified by tan spots and reddish-purple borders. When the disease turns serious, the leaves of the tree will wrinkle and distort. Not only that, the infections can also add on, which means the individual spots join to form bigger spots while dropping the centers.

In most cases, this disease does not threaten the life of the tree. However, if left ignored can damage the flowers, weaken the leaves, etc. To fix and prevent the disease from occurring again in the future, you can try planting species and cultivators that resist it. Plus, you can also use fungicides at the right time to help the tree regain its health as well.

Dogwood Anthracnose

This disease is a discovery amongst dogwood trees and tends to take place due to the fungus Discula destructiva. This disease mostly occurs in dogwood trees located in the South Carolina area. Plus, Dogwood Anthracnose is also common and relatively more severe in high altitude states (2000+ feet).

This disease when compared to the previous ones is a lot more serious and can even cause tree death. The first signs you will observe are spots on the flower bracts and leaves. The infected leaves have tan spots with purple edges or large blotches. Even worse, the disease spreads into most parts of the tree. This is why, many parts of the tree branches and trunk will become sunken brown. If the problem is severe, it’s better to have it removed by tree cutting services Bethesda.

If you want to prevent this disease, you can try planting resistant species, which is an excellent option. Kousa dogwood is quite resistant to dogwood anthracnose. Therefore, if you want to plant a dogwood tree where you have a risk of this disease, then plant kousa dogwood.

Cercospora & Septoria Leaf Spots

The fungi Cercospora cornicola and Septoria species are responsible for this disease. You may see this problem mostly in the wet season of summer. This disease can become severe and infect all the leaves as the summer season reaches its end.

Light spotting on the leaves hardly does any damage, but the heavily spotted leaves may shed early and weaken the tree.

Furthermore, both Cercospora and Septoria leaf spots tend to be similar. When compared, the Septoria left spots tend to be dark brown-purple, later forming light brown or gray centers. To prevent or treat the issue, you will need to clean up and dispose of the infected or fallen leaves so that they do not spread it. Plus, you can also use fungicides containing mancozeb, chlorothalonil, etc.

Insects & Other Pests

Even though insects also contribute to the damage to dogwood trees, they are not that serious in most cases. But, if the tree is planted directly in full sun and with limited water, it can undergo extreme stress and the situation may turn serious in a short span of time.

You will notice unusual signs on the branches and trunk of dogwoods. There are three common types of dogwood insect diseases. The first happens to be the Dogwood borer, which is essentially a larva of a clearwing moth. It looks like a wasp. They can only infect a tree if they happen to find a wound or opening in the bark. They get inside and feed on the inner parts of the bark.

If the situation is ignored, the borers will eat away the cambium to the point where the tree will die. With time, the trees and the bark become weaker and might threaten the tree’s life as well. In that case, you will need to remove the dead tree before it causes an accident.

In the meantime, you will notice several signs such as the leaves turning red and dropping early. Plus, the tree might also have rough, knotty areas on the large branches and the trunk. The best way to prevent borers from attacking the tree or trees in the future is by regularly watering, fertilizing, and mulching. Plus, make sure to prevent the trees from unnecessary wounding as well.

Permethrin is mostly used by homeowners against dogwood borers. You might also need multiple applications to control the disease.

Dogwood Club-Gall Midge

The dogwood club-gall midge is a small fly. It leaves eggs in the dogwood leaves. With time, the larva hatches and tends to enter the shoot. These larvae might travel all around inside the tree eventually turning it weaker. Plus, in the early fall, the larvae tend to fall on the ground where they survive the winter.

If you notice witted and defrosted leaves, it means the disease is at its early stages. A light infection may not cause much of a problem but a heavy infection can stop tree growth. To control and prevent the infestations, you will need to spray with horticultural oil in the spring to kill both the adults and the eggs. Make sure to properly and thoroughly coat all the branches.


Dogwood tree diseases are of several types. However, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms that will help you control and prevent dogwood tree diseases in the future. At the same time, make sure that you look after the trees and prune and fertilize them to maintain their strength. And, if possible, hire arborist services Potomac to check up on the trees as well.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *