I have a Red-bud, Dogwood and Japanese Maple all about 18 years that are...

Asked April 28, 2020, 6:56 PM EDT

I have a Red-bud, Dogwood and Japanese Maple all about 18 years that are dying. The Dogwood is totally dead, the Japanese Maple is half dead and the Red-bud is looking stressed. I'm thinking Vert. Wilt; however, I need your help. What can I do to save these and my other trees? What can I put in their place so not to have the same fate?

Summit County Ohio

1 Response

It's hard to make any diagnosis without more information. It might be verticilium wilt, or anthracnose, or any of a number of tree diseases. Although your trees seem to be dying at the same time/age, that's just as likely a coincidence, because there is no one disease common to all three species. Each of them has a lifespan far longer than 18 years, so obviously there are issues. Unfortunately, I cannot know what those issues are without more information, and even then a specific diagnosis would be needed to know exact next steps.

If you do plan on removing your dogwood, which as a species is particularly susceptible anthracnose, make sure its replacement is planted in ideal conditions. Dogwoods are understory trees, which mean they do best at a woodland edge where it can get dappled sunlight throughout the day rather than full sun. To ensure the best possible outcome for your new dogwood, look for a cultivar that is resistant to anthracnose. I have included a resource that explains in more detail diseases of dogwoods and possible remedies.

You should have your diseased plant tissue diagnosed by a plant pathology lab. Ohio State's ornamental plant pathology lab in in Columbus. The address is:
Dr. Francesca Peduto Hand
Ornamental Pathology Program – The Ohio State University
2021 Coffey Rd.
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-1293

Contact them about the best way to send in samples for a definitive diagnosis. Once you know just what is killing your trees you will also then know the correct course of action.