Hello. We have 2 red ossier dogwoods that have thrived 10 years. One appears...

Asked September 1, 2019, 4:51 PM EDT

Hello. We have 2 red ossier dogwoods that have thrived 10 years. One appears to be dying. She has lost most of her trunks/branches, and now has only a few thin branches because we cut away all the dead. My husband hand-pulled all the "weedy" plant material from all around her base before this started. Would that cause her to decline? Seems like the pattern goes: from top of branch where she flowers down, and changes from that stunning red to a brown maroon. The one image is the sick one. The other image is healthy one.

Can she be rescued?

Cuyahoga County Ohio

1 Response

Hi there!

First, I'm not sure what you mean by "weedy" plant material. Pulling weeds would not hurt any other plant, but if what was pulled were new shoots from the shrub, that could be a problem. Iowa State has a fact sheet that will give you some basic facts about red osier dogwood: https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/red_osier_dogwood.html. An even more detailed fact sheet with information about propagating more shrubs from cuttings or divisions is here from the USDA: https://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/allcollections/20090116004719/http://plants.usda.gov/plantguid...
For both red and yellow twig dogwood, the color is most vivid on stems less than three years old, so rejuvenation pruning is a must. That is a practice in which one-third of the oldest stems are removed each year. The University of Minnesota describes this practice: https://extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/redosier-dogwood.
If you know that your pruning has not been the problem, look closely at your shrub for signs of canker described in this University of Illinois fact sheet: http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/pastpest/200711d.html
I hope that this information will be of some help.
Best of luck.