Our Japanese Pagoda tree(can't remember scientific name)has patches of bark...

Asked May 4, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

Our Japanese Pagoda tree(can't remember scientific name)has patches of bark missing, cracking, and loose. It doesn't look like it's from an animal. It has lots of new growth, but some dead branches as well which I plan on pruning. It is about 25 years old and has a nice new tree on the side of the main tree growing which should fill in missing branches. Should I worry about the bark and can I prune before it blossoms?Thank you!

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. It is wonderful that you have had this dogwood for 25 years because they are susceptible to some problems that can often lead to a shorter life span. You can prune out dead branches now. A common problem is golden canker of pagoda dogwood, a fungal disease that progresses in the summer that can discolor and kill branch tips, main branches and stems. The affected bark turns a golden color but the roots are not killed by this and new shoots can spring up to take the place of the dead/dying tree.

It's possible the tree has reached the end of its life and it sounds like you have a replacement right next to it. I don't know if the bark issue is a product of disease, insect, or animal damage. If the tree is of value to you, consider having a a certified arborist come take a look at it.

Here is a link to the University of Minnesota Extension self diagnostic program "What's Wrong with my Plant"? http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/ You might be able to diagnose the problem yourself.

Here is more information on golden canker of pagoda dogwood: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/golden-canker-of-pagoda-dogwood/

Thank you for contacting Extension.