Flowering dogwood leaf wilt

Asked August 1, 2017, 3:01 PM EDT

I have an established dogwood ( at least 5 years) that has grown and "performed" nicely. The neighbors recently cut down several diseased hemlocks that were shading my tree. Now it's in full sun, I'm sure some shock, and from TOP down, the leaves are wilting. There is no blackspot nor insects that I can see. Until recently, we've had quite a lack of rain as well. Could all or any of these factors be the cause. I certainly don't want to spray anything in this heat! Thank you!

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

We agree that the sudden exposure to full sun is likely the problem. Trees produce their leaves for a specific light level, and when that light level suddenly changes the leaves cannot suddenly change. Also, full sun will naturally dry the soil more quickly.

Be sure that when the hemlocks came down that no excess soil or freshly cut sawdust/mulch was spread around your tree.

Wilting from the top-down implies not enough water is getting from the roots up to the top of the tree. Plus you have a drought! Water, water, water. A soaker hose kept around the tree at the drip line (about where the leaf canopy ends) will reach a lot of roots. Soak the soil well and use repeatedly throughout summer and into fall unless fall is cool and we get LOTS of rain. Trees normally need about 1" of water a week, but in this situation, your dogwood may need more--plus there may be a water deficit in the soil from the drought.


Thank you so much! I'll invest in a soaker hose and start a regimen for my
tree! It's important because it is a memorial tree for several beloved pets.....