University of Maryland Extension

Diagnosing Problems of Flowering Dogwood

SymptomsDetailsPossible Causes
Leaf and Flower SpotsSpots on leaves or flower bracts; 1/8 inch spots or smaller (spring)Spot Anthracnose (Elsinoe)
Dark spots on leaves and flower bracts; blighted leaves; causes defoliation (spring)Dogwood Anthracnose (Discula)
1/4 inch angular spots on leaves (fall)Septoria
1/4 inch round spots on leaes (fall)Phyllosticta
Leaf and Flower Blights Gray, fuzzy growth on terminal leaves and flowersBotrytis cinerea
Blighted leaves and flowers, causes defoliationDogwood Anthracnose (Discula)
Leaf YellowingLeaves may also have sooty moldCalico Scale
Leaves may also have sooty mold
Cottony Maple Scale
No honeydewOystershell Scale
White Coating on LeavesMay be on upper and lower surfaces (usually spring only); causes early fall color symptoms (purple/red leaf color)Powdery Mildew
Leaf WiltingTerminal leaves die; swelling on twigsClub Gall Midge
Leaves Browning

Browning leaf edges, leaves drooping, wilting

Drought stress, leaf scorch
Early Fall Color (Summer)

General stress. Peeling, cracked bark near base of tree, brown leaf edges/wilting, purple/red leaf color

Leaf scorch, powdery mildew, drought conditions, poor site conditions, crown canker
Leaves Eaten or ChewedSawflies resemble caterpillars (often covered with white powdery material)Dogwood Sawfly
Failure to FlowerBegins on lower branches, progresses up into the canopy sometimesDogwood Anthracnose (Discula)
Twig DiebackSunken, discolored areas on twigsBranch Cankers
Twigs may break offDogwood Twig Borer
Leaf yellowing and stunting precede diebackScale Insects
Swelling near branch tips, terminals die prematurelyClub Gall Midge
Leaf blight, defoliationDogwood Anthracnose (Discula)
Brach DiebackSunken, discolored areas on twigsBranch Cankers
Rough, knotty areas on trunk and large branchesDogwood Borer
Cracked bark near base of young trees, large branch diebackFlatheaded Apple Tree Borer
Dieback with leaf blight and defoliationDogwood Anthracnose (Discula)
Peeling, creaked bark near base of treeCrown Canker

Authors: David L. Clement and Mary Kay Malinoski, University of Maryland Extenson Specialists. Revised and edited by Christa K. Carignan, Coordinator, University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center, 12/2019.

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