Dogwood tree concern

Asked April 18, 2020, 5:04 PM EDT

The flash drought of last summer/fall had a serious impact on the dogwood in my backyard. It’s leaves suddenly dried up and withered. Although many blew or fell off over the winter a large number were retained. There seems to be no buds at all this spring and it is not showing any new leaves at all. I did cut off obvious deadwood and many of the branches remain flexible with healthy looking bark. Is it dead, dormant or somewhere in between. Anything I can do to bring it back? Thanks for the help.

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

If there are enough live roots left, it's possible that it may be able to put out a new shoot or leaf or two. The flexible wood suggests this. It sounds like decline is very advanced, though. Even if it survives, it will probably lose more branches. Water during dry spells for at least the next 2 years. Don't stress it further with a lot of fertilizer.

Since it seems to have declined very rapidly, it's possible that it lost some root system in the abnormally high rainfall of 2018-19, and when hit by the severe drought last year, it was unable to cope. When a tree cannot shed it leaves, that is a very bad sign. There is no way to resurrect a dead tree.

Dogwoods make perfectly good landscape trees and are very good for wildlife. If you replace it with another native flowering dogwood, just be sure to get one that is resistant to powdery mildew. Their variety name usually starts with "Appalachian...." , such as "Appalachan Spring".


Thank you very much for response. Although we have many family memories of this tree we will be removing it and planting a native tree to replace it.