The Q&A Archives: dogwood tree

Question: We have an old dogwood tree planted in the back of our yard. Our yard declines so there will be some water run off in the back. The tree is in the northern part of our yard. Every year in mid-summer the leaves start to curl. I deep water it for about 12 hours. The tree survives but the leaves always look curled.

Answer: Curling leaves can be a symptom of aphid feeding, wind burn, or water stress. Any situation in which the leaves are losing water faster than the plant can take it up can result in these types of symptoms. To complicate matters, soils that are too moist (soggy around the roots) can cause similar symptoms. While flood irrigation is perfectly fine for most trees, the soil needs to dry out between waterings or the roots can suffocate - and cause curling and browning leaf tips. I'd cut off a few of the affected leaves and look at them with a magnifying glass. You may be able to see insect evidence or collapsed veins in the leaves. If you still can't determine the problem, take a few of the leaves to your local extension office (St. Louis County MU Extension Center, 121 S. Meramec, Suite 501, Clayton, MO 63105, Phone: (314) 615-2911) or Master Gardener Clinic for on the spot help. Best wishes with your dogwood!

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