Thread: Dogwood leaves looking bad

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Dogwood leaves looking bad

    We just got this pink dogwood from a nursery a few weeks ago with the leaves looking like this. Is this tree dying or is it leaf scorch, or something else? Whatever it is what can we do to help it or will it take care of it on itís own? We now have it planted in a spot that gets partial sun.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Memphis, Tennessee

    RE: Dogwood leaves looking bad

    My red dogwood is doing the same thing. I'm not having any luck at all with the 6 dogwoods we planted - all but 2 have died and the red one isn't looking so good. My husband's coworkers have told him that dogwoods are very difficult to grow. I am about to give up on them and find an easier flowering tree. I wish I could tell you what exactly the problem is, but all I know is that I'm pretty sure it's an indicator that the end is near. I have mine planted in full sun, so I'm pretty sure it's not that fungal disease that they get.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Dogwood leaves looking bad

    How much water is it getting and when it's watered, are the leaves watered too or just the rootball. It can sometimes cause problems if the leaves remain wet for extended periods which can introduce fungal diseases. With that said, I do have some plants that prefer cooler, shadier settings but planted in full sun and in the heat of the day do have droopy leaves like that. I think overwatering can also cause that to happen.

  4. #4

    RE: Dogwood leaves looking bad

    Improper Planting Site

    Dogwoods grow in the forest as a mid-understory tree in upland forest. Dogwoods are tolerant of competition from many other plants. Wild dogwoods tend to form a single layer crown that effectively captures the filtered sunlight. Dogwoods grow best where there is 60 percent full sun and moist, uncompacted soil that is moderately well drained with plenty of leaf litter and organic material on the soil surface. Dogwoods are stressed badly by poorly drained soil.

    Dogwoods established in full sun must be properly taken care of for at least three growing seasons. Young trees around home and businesses have severe water problems stemming from the heat generated in the landscape and from the tree's limited root system. Also, many new sites for planting may have poor or compacted soils that prevent good root development and water absorption.

    Dogwoods do not use water very efficiently. The top of the tree can lose water much faster than the roots can absorb it, leading to shut-down of food production and a stressed tree. Planting in full sun requires much more water for use just to dissipate the heat built up in the tree tissues. Watering is critical for maintaining healthy dogwoods.

    Marginal leaf burning or browning, morning leaf wilting, and upper twig death are all signs of drought problems.

    Select a planting site with partial shade. Do not select sites with less than 60 percent full sun. Avoid poorly drained and wet areas. Use 2-4 inches of an organic mulch (i.e. wood chips, pine straw, bark nuggets, etc.) over the rooting area of the tree. Do not pile mulch immediately around the stem base. Allow the stem to be open to the air. Place mulch in young trees over an area that stretches at least 3 feet around the tree. In established trees, an ideal mulch bed would be twice the width of the crown.

    For new trees, weekly watering is critical to survival. For older trees during dry periods (even if the dry period in the winter), water deeply once a week. Do not water lightly every day because this prevents the tree from adjusting to drought conditions and wastes water.

    Read on here:

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    RE: Dogwood leaves looking bad

    WOW, what great posts. Thanks for all the fantastic advice. This dogwood is in an area that gets about 50% - 60% of the summer sun, it does however get the sun at the end of the day so itís getting the hottest. The leaves were like this when we got it from the Nursery about 3 weeks ago (some of the newer leaves look okay). We planted it in an area near the house (not too close) that is surrounded by organic mulch about 20í x 20í, so that should be enough. The mulch is up to and around the base of the tree, Iíll be changing that this weekend.

    Iím only watering the root ball, not the leaves. Iíve been running a slow steady stream from the hose about once or twice a week for about 15 Ė 20 minutes. We have been getting a good deal of rain lately so I havenít really had to water it since the first week and a half of having it.

    Iíve read to not use any kind of fertilizer for the first year or two. Is this right, or is there anything out there that I can use on trees (not just dogwoods) to help keep it healthy and strong?

  6. #6

    RE: Dogwood leaves looking bad

    I use Hi-Yield B1 a lot. It's a rooting compound, of which there are many others. It's supposed to reduce transplant shock and encourage root growth, rather than encouraging twig/leaf growth which is what fertilizers are going to do.

    I use it on all my transplants. I can't say for sure it increases transplant success by 'x' amount, since I haven't planted many trees without it, but I can say I've never lost a tree I planted with it yet. Also, everything I have planted has seemed to take off almost immediately, rather than taking months or years to adjust.

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