The Q&A Archives: Disease Foliage On Twig Dogwood

Question: 2nd year for this lg.(would be beautiful) variegated red twig dogwood - gets afternoon sun. 2 years of "black" spotty burnt looking leaves, even has a bad odor. trimmed it down last year, came back great but did not last long before this disease took over the whole plant again. can i do anything? should i cut it back, or dig it out and throw away? it was one of your plants we paid $35 at a nursery in Seaford, De. this is the MOST we paid for any of our plants and the worst problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Answer: The shrub dogwoods are potentially susceptible to a wide range of foliage problems including bacterial and fungal infections. Based on your description, I am unable to tell you specifically what is affecting your plant. I would suggest you take a photo of the plant along with some samples of affected branches and consult with professionally trained nursery personnel and/or your county extension to see if they can make a definite diagnosis and suggest what steps to take. In the meantime, clean up any fallen foliage and dispose of it in the trash to try to limit reinfection. Trimming the plant back hard in the winter may also help to limit reinfection. However, without knowing exactly what the problem is it is impossible to make more specific suggestions as to what to do. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful -- and I'm sorry about your shrub.

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