The Q&A Archives: Dogwood Problems

Question: I have a 12-year old Pagoda Dogwood (Ann Arbor, MI) and this year for the first time, several large branches did not leaf out and appear dead. Can you help?

Answer: I think I'd prune away the dead branches to encourage healthy new growth. In fact you can remove the dead branches and then prune to reshape the tree. You can shorten the branches by up to one-third their length if the tree is growing too wide. Because the branches tend to be evenly spaced and horizontal, there generally are no crossing branches to remove, but if you find any branches out of place, you can remove them completely. Otherwise, simply reduce the width and height of your dogwood by pruning just the branches tips out - up to one-third of the live plant material. If you prune more than that, your dogwood can become stressed and more susceptible to insect and disease problems.

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