Pink Dogwood Tree dying

Asked July 5, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

We have just moved. and noticed that the pink dogwood tree looks sick. It is about 12 ft tall, is in partial to full sunlight, has azaleas and other plants about 18 inches away from the base. There are several branches that are bare. I think there are lichens on the base and branches, so I guess it isn't a youngster. The leaves are dark brown around the edges. I thought I saw a tiny aphid, a tiny black buy, and several of the leaves we looked at have tiny whit open circle on the underside. Did not see signs of a bore, but there are a multitude of tiny ants moving Thank you for reading this. about, and there are numerous woodpecker holes. No oozing is noted as yet, but did notice some of the bark is peeling off.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Your dogwood tree is obviously under stress, and probably from several factors.
Having to share its shallow root zone with adjacent azaleas which also have shallow roots has probably resulted in lots of competition for nutrients and soil moisture. This type of stress encourages other disease and insect problems to occur. The woodpecker may be looking for boring insects and the ants are either exploiting the aphids for their honeydew, or the ants are exploiting some of the heartwood of the tree that could be rotting from water incursion.
The dark brown around the edges of the leaves suggests either too much or too little moisture, and the lichens could be an indicator that the tree is dying. Normally, lichens do not harm a living tree, but they tend to proliferate when a tree is no longer growing. The peeling bark also indicates that there is damage to the cambiam layer, i.e., the living part of the tree (vascular system) that is located immediately under the bark.
It is appropriate that you prune out any obviously dead wood and if that results in a less appealing tree, you should consider removing it and replacing it.