What could be killing the dogwoods on my property?


I have several wild alternate-leaf dogwoods on my property that have died previously. They are all located in a similar section of the property. There are two others nearby that are alive but look terrible, with leaves only at the top of the plant. I have not seen a bug or insect on the plants. Any idea what may be killing the dogwoods?

diseased dogwood branch
Photo used with permission from the client.


Kate Garland, Horticultural Professional

It’s tough to say for sure from the photos, but one suspect might be dogwood sawfly and anthracnose may also be part of the picture. University of Maryland has this terrific bulletin outlining common insect and disease pressures of dogwoods. I encourage you to look through the table at the bottom to see if anything strikes you as potentially being the cause of the dieback you’ve been witnessing.

This is a helpful bulletin on the topic of sawflies.