Dogwood leaves turning black

Asked May 26, 2019, 12:30 PM EDT

I have a Cherokee Brave Dogwood, planted about 3 weeks ago, with leaves that are curling up and turning yellow and then black, dry, and crinkly. It's in a shady spot that gets some morning sun. We had another one in the same spot that did the same thing. After a couple of years of no improvement and no flowers, we gave up on it and replaced it with this one. I've attached photos of the leaves and the tree. We moved the older one to another nearby spot in our yard and it seems to be doing better. Can you please tell me what the problem might be and how we might save the tree. Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

It looks like the current tree, and the last one, suffers/suffered from root issues.
We notice in the first photo that the tree is planted too deeply. This can slowly kill a tree. When planted, the flare at the base of a tree (where it widens out) must be above the ground. You may want to pull away the excess soil and mulch to expose the flare, or dig up the tree and replant higher.

Here is a fact sheet which includes more about planting too deeply:

Over-mulching too can add to problems. Mulch should not exceed 3" and never touch the base of any plants. Keep it back several inches.


Thank you, Ellen, for your response. Upon receiving it, we pulled the mulch (and maybe some soil) away from the trunk and already see significant improvement in the appearance of the tree. I am still trying to get my yard care person to come back and replant the tree higher in the ground.

Thank you again and apologies for the delayed thanks.