Dogwood Anthracnose and its Spread in the South

In the 15 years since it was first reported in the United States, dogwood anthracnose (caused by Discula destructive sp. nov.) has spread rapidly and caused serious losses among flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida L.), particularly in the South. Infection begins in leaves and spreads to twigs and branches, which die back. Main-stem infections cause cankers, which kill the trees. In the South, infection is most likely at higher elevations and on moist to wet sites. Shade increases risk of infection and mortality. High-value trees can be protected by mulching, pruning, and watering during droughts, and applying a fungicide.

Dogwoods for American Gardens

Seventeen species of dogwood are native to the United States, with about 50 throughout the northern hemisphere of the world. The familiar species we call “flowering dogwood,” Cornus florida, is related to many others. This publication discusses those of ornamental value.

Growing and Maintaining Healthy Dogwoods

The natural range of dogwoods extends from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. The trees color cities and countrysides white with dazzling displays in the early spring. Although they are most spectacular in spring, part of the attraction of dogwoods lies in their year-round beauty. They are truly a four-season plant, displaying rich green luster in the summer followed by deep red leaves in the fall. Bright red clusters of seeds decorate the tree in the winter months.

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