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Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown — 4 Major Causes

Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown — 4 Major Causes

Dogwood rank among the most popular trees in America, as they offer aesthetics to a landscape regardless of the season.

Their beauty is especially enhanced in the springtime when flowers of fantastic pink or white arrive on the scene.

Dogwoods grow rather quickly and thrive without a lot of care, but these showy trees can lose their glamour when their leaves begin to turn brown.

 

Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown

Dogwood leaves can turn brown due to overwatering, under-, or overfertilization. It could simply be that it’s planted in the wrong place. Various pests and diseases can cause dogwood leaves to turn brown. Also, planting them in full sun can result in overly dry soil, which browns their leaves.

Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown
Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown

If the leaves on your dogwood tree are turning brown, it may not be a simple task to figure out why. However, it may be something simple that you can easily and quickly correct.

 

1) It may be getting too much water

Dogwood don’t like to be overwatered. If its base stands in the water, it will eventually start to rot, causing its leaves to turn brown.

Dogwood should only be watered semi-liberally and daily for the first 7-10 days after it’s planted.

You should only water dogwood trees every 7-10 days semi-liberally to avoid having its leaves turn brown
You should only water dogwood trees every 7-10 days semi-liberally to avoid having their leaves turn brown

After that, it should require watering twice weekly at most. Really, one good watering per week is sufficient and the most beneficial for dogwood plants.

 

2) The soil may not be right

It can depend a lot upon the soil your dogwood is planted in. The type of soil a dogwood is planted in has a lot to do with the plant’s health.

The soil where your dogwood tree is planted dictates its overall health
The soil where your dogwood tree is planted dictates its overall health

If the soil you’ve planted your dogwood in is under-fertilized, your dogwood may not be getting the nutrients it needs to thrive, causing its leaves to turn brown.

Alternatively, if the soil is overfertilized, your dogwood may be overwhelmed with nutrients, again, causing its leaves to turn brown. Too much of a thing, even if it’s good, can be harmful, too.

 

3) It may be leaf scorch

Though dogwood trees can sometimes tolerate full sun locations, they really prefer partial sun with partial shade, like behind taller trees.

By planting dogwood in full sun, you run the risk of them having to try to survive in overly dry soil.

Though you can plant a dogwood tree in full sun locations, they prefer to be behind taller trees so they can be shaded
Though you can plant a dogwood tree in full sun locations, they prefer to be behind taller trees so they can be shaded

They don’t like to be overwatered, for sure, but pomegranates need to stay hydrated as well. This type of browning is called “leaf scorch”.

 

4) You may have a pest or disease problem

Pests and diseases are other issues that plague dogwood. Let’s look at which ones they are.

 

a) Pests

Pests and insects are capable of causing damage to your beautiful tree. Most insect damage is present on the branches and trunk of the tree, and their damage is usually not major.

If your dogwood tree is infested with pests, take a look at its trunk and branches as the damage is commonly seen there
If your dogwood tree is infested with pests, take a look at its trunk and branches as the damage is commonly seen there

The most common insects that attack dogwoods are the dogwood club-gall midge, the dogwood borer, and scales.

 

b) Diseases

Also, diseases, mostly fungal diseases can attack different types of dogwood, and some are more susceptible than others.

Diseases like dogwood anthracnose, powdery mildew, spot anthracnose, and Cercospora and Septoria leaf spots can weaken and even eventually kill dogwood.

Fungal diseases like powdery mildew on your dogwood tree can weaken and ultimately kill it
Fungal diseases like powdery mildew on your dogwood tree can weaken and ultimately kill it

While the flowering dogwood is susceptible to a great many pests and diseases, the Cornelian cherry dogwood is almost impervious.

Most flowering dogwoods are susceptible to fungal diseases except the Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Most flowering dogwoods are susceptible to fungal diseases except the Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

For information on how to battle pests and diseases that attack dogwoods, consult the Old Farmer’s Almanac or the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center.

 

What a Dogwood is

The dogwood is considered a majestic ornamental. Essentially, that term describes “a gorgeous tree to be revered and used to enhance the aesthetic of its environment”.

Dogwood trees are considered as majestic ornamental trees
Dogwood trees are considered as majestic ornamental trees

All dogwood trees need is ample sunshine and water to thrive. However, in extremely dry or wet conditions, you may have trouble growing your dogwood.

 

How to Plant a Dogwood Tree

Those who have dogwood trees disagree as to whether the plant is finicky. They, in some cases, can be affected by minerals in the water or a fluctuation in soil nutrients.

Most will tell you, though, that the dogwood is not difficult to grow into a monumental tree. Its rapid growth and glorious splendor are virtually unmatched by its peers.

Most gardeners would tell you that it's not difficult to grow a dogwood into a tree
Most gardeners would tell you that it’s not difficult to grow a dogwood into a tree

You won’t need to do much pruning.

See that your dogwood is planted in well-drained, slightly acidic (loam [equal portions of clay, silt, and sand]).

Dogwoods have shallow roots, so they dry out easily. Water twice per week at minimum and more frequently in arid times of year or drought conditions.

In the late wintertime, remove broken and dead branches, and prune the plant to get the shape of the tree or shrub you desire.

If your dogwood is dying the following article might help you to save it.

 

Where Best to Plant My Dogwood

To reiterate, dogwood trees need only partial sun, so plant them where taller trees or buildings can help shade them. Screening can be used, if necessary.

Dogwood trees only require partial sunlight for them to grow well, hence plant them behind buildings or trees or you can use screening
Dogwood trees only require partial sunlight for them to grow well, hence plant them behind buildings or trees or you can use screening

However, if you plant near a building, remember to water more often than you otherwise would, as many buildings can emit heat, which will dry out your dogwood tree.

Mix compost, or possibly coffee grounds, or pine needles into the planting soil to increase the acidity level.

 

How to Water my Dogwood

Water your dogwood tree well after you plant it, and water it each day for around 21 days. Afterward, once weekly for temperate climates and 3-4 days per week should be sufficient.

Also, be consistent with your watering by setting up a time schedule, and this chart will help you keep track.

Spread mulch around the base of your dogwood, but arrange it so that it doesn’t touch the tree trunk.

The reason you need to do this is that abrasions can be the result of mulch rubbing against the tree trunk. These abrasions can cause dogwood to become vulnerable to diseases and pests.

Read about why dogwood leaves are turning red.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown

 

Are dogwood trees native to the US?

Seventeen dogwood types are native to North America. The common dogwood, Canadian bunchberry, Cornelian cherry, flowering, Kousa, gray, mountain, pagoda, red twig, rough leaf, stiff, and Swedish dogwoods are the 12 most common.

 

Do dogwood trees really smell funny?

Dogwoods do have a distinct smell, but only for around 2 weeks of the year around pollination time. Depending upon the variety of dogwood and the nutrients it receives, it can emit an odor spanning from sweet or flowery to rotten fish or sperm.

 

Which of the dogwood berries is edible?

While some are edible, like the Canadian bunchberry, be aware of which type of dogwood tree berry you are eating, as some, like the common dogwood, have quite an unpleasant taste. Others, like the flowering dogwood, are mildly toxic, and yet, others are edible only to birds, like the gray dogwood.


 

Conclusion To Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown

Dogwood leaves are turning brown for the following reasons:

  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Pests
  • Overfertilization
  • Planted in the wrong space
  • Too much sun
  • Wrong soil

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.

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