The Q&A Archives: Dogwood Pruning

Question: Last year I bought a dogwood by the name of Cherokee Sunset. I thought it would be more disease resistant. Did I make a good choice and should it be pruned? If so, when?

Answer: Are you mentioning you thought the variety had more disease resistance because you are now having a problem with disease? I am not familiar with 'Cherokee Sunset' in particular but I know others in the "Cherokee" family, i.e., Cherokee Chief. Generally, this family is good. Unfortunately, this family is susceptible to Anthracnose fungus. If you are concerned your tree has this fungus, you should consider contacting your County Extension Service about coming out and making a definitive diagnosis; there are treatments available. There are dogwoods with even stronger disease resistance such as Cornus kousa. However, the flowering show isn't quite as spectacular. <br><br>To keep a tree healthy, make sure it has good air circulation, is lightly pruned annually in the fall (remove "suckers", any crossing branches, branches growing toward the middle of the tree, and brittle, weak or diseased branches), has a good eastern exposure to dry the leaves quickly in the morning and is kept at optimum health with fertilizer and water. Breeders are working on resistant varieties, but to my knowledge haven't introduced a completely disease resistant tree yet.

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