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How to Save a Dying Dogwood Tree?

How to Save a Dying Dogwood Tree?

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The dogwood tree is an aesthetic tree to have in the compound. It is America’s favorite landscaping tree, usually grown during autumn and blossoming in spring.

Watching it die after all the hard work can be very devastating.

Besides, this type of tree is known to be cold-resilient even in snow. They can bear temperatures as low as -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 – -35 degrees Celsius).

Thus, the tree does well in temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Usually, the mature tree grows to about 15 and 30 feet tall, depending on the species but can go up to 70 feet high.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the dogwood tree can be found in zone 4 t0 9.

Zone four dogwood tree is the hardest and can withstand cold weather below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Thus, this is an all-weather tree and can be planted at any time of the year as long as the right conditions are maintained.

How to Save A Dying Dogwood Tree?

If a dogwood tree is dying, the first step to saving it is establishing the course and deciding on the strategy to use. Saving can entail using pesticides, applying mulch, changing the soil PH, and improving drainage, depending on the root cause.

Tips On How To Save A Dying Dogwood Tree

Apply mulch

During summer, a lot of evaporation occurs, which can cause the soil to dry and develop cracks.

Such a type of dryness can result in the death of the dogwood tree. Thus, to preserve moisture, apply several inches of mulching material around the base but not touching the tree trunk.

Mulching plays a significant role in cooling the soil and maintaining the desired soil moisture for the healthy growth of the dogwood plant.

Keep a regular check, especially during summer, and if you notice wilting, water the tree thoroughly and apply mulch.

Improve soil drainage

If the soil is draining water quickly, resulting in excessive dryness that can lead to the wilting and ultimate death of the tree, consider mixing with clay soil or loam soils to promote water retention.

Likewise, if the soil maintains lots of water during heavy rain, it will lead to waterlogging. In this case, try mixing the soil with sandy soil with high drainage.

Alternatively, you can transplant it to another location where the soil has the right pH and proper drainage.

Suppose the soils in the area have high water retention and cannot source for other types of soils; improve drainage by planting the tree on a slope.

Try planting in a high area as opposed to a low area.


Suppose the dogwood tree is infected by a spot anthracnose fungal disease; its mortality rate increases.

The disease spreads through water splashing from one leaf to another. While it is common among indoor plants, it can also affect those in the field if planted closely.

To address this issue, prune the diseased branches and remove them from the field.

Also, use daconil to spay the pruned parts as per the directions and regularly check and prune as soon as you detect the symptom.

Also, if you have other plants close to the infected one, consider transplanting them to a healthier location.

Use Pesticides

If you notice holes in the stem or branches, it is best to use pesticides to kill the dogwood borers before they spread.

If the plant is beyond saving, uproot and burn it to eliminate all possible pests from spreading to others.

Since some might hide in the soil, it is best to transplant the remaining healthy plants to another location.

Avoid planting the trees back in the same space for the next one or two seasons. This will allow those pests to die from hunger and extreme climate.

Improve the soil pH

Dogwood trees grow well in slightly acidic to neutral soil ranging between 5.5 to 7.0 PH.

While most garden soil falls between 6.0 and 7.0, this can be the right type to grow the dogwood tree.

However, if the soil is alkaline, the plant’s leaves will turn yellow, indicating they are not making food through photosynthesis necessary for plant growth, leading to its death.

Have you noticed signs that the dogwood plant is dying? There is a possibility the problem lies with the soil pH.

Test it, and if it is alkaline, try to improve it by using fertilizers to help revive the plant.

You can even transplant the plant to a location where the soil has the recommended PH for the healthy growth of the dogwood plant.

Consider moving it under the shade

Dogwood plants thrive in cool or cold weather. A lot of suns can be detrimental to plants.

If your plant is exposed to too much, especially during summer, consider moving it to an area with shade.

This will also reduce the evaporation rate, promoting moisture retention necessary for healthy growth.

Why Is The Dogwood Tree Dying


Numerous diseases can affect the dogwood resulting in its death. A fungal infection called dogwood anthracnose is one of the devastating diseases that infect dogwood during the flowering stage.

It affects the tree throughout the eastern and northwestern U.S, resulting in high mortality among the infected trees.


Pests are another potential course for the dying dogwood tree.

The dogwood borer makes holes in the main stem and branches, resulting in significant structural damage.

The tree eventually develops seeping cracks in the trunk and is filled with sawdust. Too many of these holes prevent the free flow of nutrients up a tree, resulting in death.

Poor soil drainage

Dogwood tree requires proper drainage. Poor drainage can cause waterlogging or dryness, resulting in death.

For instance, clay soils are known to maintain a lot of water and are, therefore, unsuitable for planting dogwood trees.

Consider mixing the soil with sand soil to facilitate proper drainage.

Similarly, sandy soils have poor water retention; during summer, your tree will require frequent watering; otherwise, it will die due to lack of water.

Read my Dogwood Tree Guide for more care tips.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Save a Dying Dogwood Tree

What are the signs your dogwood tree is dying?

There are numerous indicators of when a dogwood tree dies. The most common ones are peeling barks which are always an indication of diseases. Another sign is leaf discoloration; it can turn brown or white.

Why are the leaves of the dogwood tree dying?

Leaf scorching is usually a sign of dry soil. When the plant is water-starved, the leaves turn brown and die. Other courses could be fungal disease or pest attack.


In this article, there are several causes of death among dogwood trees. It’s vital to determine the cause of dying dogwood to develop the appropriate solution.

Every cause has a unique solution. Hopefully, this article will save your dying dogwood tree.

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