My dogwood tree is exhibiting many shriveled leaves and has yellow spots on...

Asked July 10, 2017, 8:50 AM EDT

My dogwood tree is exhibiting many shriveled leaves and has yellow spots on the trunk. The tree is about 10 to 12 feet tall and was planted over six years ago on the south side of the building (condo) with full sun for a good portion of the day. Watering has not seemed to affect the condition. Cathee Thomas of Sabo's Nursery has looked at a branch and pictures and suggested that it was probably some sort of blight but didn't know what it was and suggested that I contact you for advice. I'm attaching pictures for your review. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. Jerome D. Bennett, 5633 Saint Thomas Lane, Madison, OH (440)983-4778

Lake County Ohio

7 Responses

Dear Jerome
Dogwoods are susceptible to a few fungi. The pattern of the spots on the leaves can help diagnose which disease you might have.

For example, here is an excellent fact sheet:

We only received one photo of the tree trunk.
From the photo, I cannot see the yellow spots.
Can you please send more photos showing the leaves and the yellow spots on the bark?

Thank you, Roxanne

The yellow spots on the bark are fairly small discolorations and I may not be able to get better images but here are the other pictures I thought I had sent showing the leaf withering. I have more pictures but, due to the limit of three, I've chosen some that fairly represent the condition. I'll try to get a better picture of the yellow spots and if successful will send it later. Thanks again for your help. I don't want to lose the tree but I don't want to rush and do the wrong thing trying to save it, if there is a condition that needs correction.

Roxanne M, Thanks again. I think the picture included here will show the yellow spots on the bark better.

Roxanne M, Thanks again. I think the pictures included here will show the yellow spots on the bark better.

From the images of the leaves, I think you may have leaf scorch.
This is common for dogwoods after a period of hot, dry weather.
The scorch is caused when evaporation from the leaves exceeds absorption by the roots. Dogwood typically prefer part sun rather than full sun.

From the images of the truck, I think you have lichen and moss.
It is not uncommon for trees to be covered with lichen and moss (the grayish-blue and greenish-yellow patches) on your bark.

However, the sudden appearance of lichen and moss can signal stress, including overwatering.

But with a little TLC, your tree should recover nicely.
Typically established trees do not need to be watered after the first few years. But for the next 2 years during hot, dry weather, I recommend you water your tree with 2 gal of water per inch of truck diameter every other week. During a drought you can water once per week.

Overwatering can cause the soil to saturate, flooding and suffocating the roots and leading to root rot. So do not water unless it has been hot and dry for more than a week.

I recommend you also put a mulch around the tree base. A 3-4" layer is good, but no more than that. Also, keep the mulch 1" away from the trunk.

Thank you so very much, Roxanne. I feel very relieved. I've had leaf scorch in other years but it seemed more extreme this year. I'll nurse it back to its usual beauty. Regards, Jerome D. Bennett.

I truly think that the tree will recover nicely. But if you see additional symptoms or have any additional questions, please let us know.
All the best, Roxanne