What killed our dogwood overnight

Asked May 16, 2013, 9:21 AM EDT

My son lives in Somerton Phila. and the trees there are the healthiest I have ever seen. I believe it was a dogwood or possibly a flowering white cherry and was healthy and lush. This year it was stone dead. Not one leaf? It had no signs of disease last year and we are worried about the other trees now. We are heartbroken. Thanks for any info. Wendy Kates, 609-206-4137

Philadelphia County Pennsylvania

2 Responses

It's almost impossible to identify the causes of a tree death without additional information. You should examine the tree carefully for any pencil-sized holes on the trunk or near the base of the affected branches. That would indicate the presence of boring insects.

The problem might also be environmental or cultural practices. Mounding mulch around the base of the tree in a volcaoic form could be one cause. Mowing or trimming too closely that has damaged the bark is another potentail cause.

It'a also possible that the tree was partially uprooted during hurricane Sandy last fall. other environmental conditions that could have contributed would be the very dry conditions last summer and early fall.

If you want to take pictures and resubmit it might be possible to do a more comprehensive diagnosis. You could also visit your local extension office with a sample of the tree for diagnosis.

Thank you Rick. MY son will take some photos and ask some of the neighbors if they new what the tree was. We will be in touch,

Wendy Kates