Cornus kousa tree wilt

Asked June 4, 2020, 11:45 AM EDT

My Cornus kousa tree, approximately 4 - 8 years old, just wilted. The top half looks like Little Bo Peep's staff. It is a common cultivar, we live in Centralia WA. The recent weather has been cold and rainy with periods of hot sun. The tree looked very healthy until we ran a drip hose around the base, covering it with 4 inches of wood chips and avoiding the tree trunk base.
The drip hose encircles other large bushes as well. We dripped the area after a period of hot sun. The next day the dogwood tree drooped. We then spot watered thinking it had not enough water. Now the leaves are curled and look to be drying up. A sign of over-watering?
What to do? I have never seen a tree wilt like pea vines in the hot sun. Thanks for your help and ideas.
I am thinking of cutting back the heaviest, drooping branches. A good idea?


Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Sudden tree wilting is commonly a root issue, and not a quick or easy diagnosis. If a high-value tree, hiring a certified arborist to make a site visit is an option. This forum is helpful to troubleshoot with you before doing that. Share photos of the whole tree, and of where the trunk meets soil.
Did you plant the tree? Any photos of the process? Is there a chance bindings or wrappings were left in place around the root ball?