The Q&A Archives: Cherokee Sunset Dogwood

Question: Our Cherokee Sunset dogwood is three years old. Each spring the leaves are a rich green. Each fall the leaves turn brown and make the tree look as if it is dying. There has never been a bloom on this tree. I transplanted this tree after the first year.

Answer: Dogwoods are sometimes affected by a disease called anthracnose, which causes browning of the leaves. It begins with a brown leaf tip and spreads, in irregular wedge-shaped blotches, eventually turning the entire leaf brown. If this sounds like what's happening to your tree, you'll need to control the disease before it kills the tree.

The fungus overwinters on dead twigs and on leaves on the tree and on the ground. Prune off the affected stems and branches and be sure to rake the leaves away from the tree at the end of the season.

If this is a continual problem you may have to use a fungicide to protect the tree. Begin sprays at bud-break and continue at 10-14 day intervals until dry weather arrives.

Your tree may be a bit too young to flower. Give it another year and it should be mature enough to bloom on schedule.

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