Dogwood Tree Bloomed beautiful but...

Asked June 8, 2019, 8:20 PM EDT

...the leaves look like crap. Browning. Curled edges. I see in other posts this is sometimes caused when extreme rain/weather happens. Any suggestions what to do? This tree has been the biggest pain. Last year we lost two mature dogwood trees in the backyard with any infestation under them. That was a horrible loss.

Kalamazoo County Michigan

1 Response


This could be dogwood anthracnose (Discula Anthracnose), and yes, it will be more problem in long wet springs. These links have a good discussion of several dogwood problems, and describes what you can do about dogwood anthracnose.

Of course the leaves this season can’t be cured, but you can rake them up as they fall, bag or bury them. Note that there are some dogwoods that are more disease resistant than others, as listed in the above articles. If you plan to replace the trees, seek out the resistant cultivars.

The leaves look rather yellowish, too. That could be from a high pH soil, or too wet a soil. Flowering dogwood prefers an acidic, well-drained soil that contains a significant amount of organic matter. It can be planted in full sun, but performs best in partial shade. The tree should be mulched to keep the soil moist and cool. It does not tolerate poorly drained soils, drought or pollution. It is hardy to Zones 5 when the plant sourced from zone 5. A tree under stress from these cultural issues is more susceptible to diseases and pests.

A soil test will tell you your pH, your soil type, and the percentage organic matter in your soil. You want about 5% organic matter in your soil and ideally you want a pH below 7. You can find the MSU Soil Test self mailer at your local extension office or online here-

You can confirm which leaf disease is affecting this tree by submitting samples to MSU Plant Diagnostic services. For a small fee they will diagnose the exact fungi and give you an action plan.

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