Yellow Leaves on Dogwood: 7 Causes & How To Resolve Them

Dogwood trees are greatly treasured for their year-round beauty. They are appreciated for their breathtaking spring flowers and colorful autumn foliage, which add an elegant touch to any outdoor setting.

However, they can sometimes experience issues that can affect their health and appearance. One such issue is yellowing leaves.

If your dogwood tree’s leaves are turning yellow, it’s a sign that something is not quite right.

This guide will explore seven potential causes of yellow leaves on dogwood trees and provide practical solutions to help you restore your tree to its full health and beauty.

Key Takeaways

  • Yellow leaves on a dogwood tree can be caused by a variety of issues, including watering problems, nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases, root damage, and environmental stress.
  • Look for other signs of stress in your tree, such as changes in leaf texture, the presence of pests, or signs of disease.
  • Solutions include adjusting your watering practices, applying a nutrient supplement, treating for pests or diseases, or mitigating environmental stressors.
  • Regular watering, proper fertilization, and protection from pests, diseases, and environmental stress can help keep your dogwood tree healthy and vibrant.

Yellowing leaves is just one thing can happen to your dogwood tree. Learn all about the various issues affecting dogwoods in my comprehensive article, Common Dogwood Problems.

Watering Issues

Improper watering is a common cause of yellow leaves on dogwood trees. Both overwatering and underwatering can stress the tree and lead to yellowing leaves.

How To Identify

If your dogwood tree is being overwatered, you may notice that the leaves turn yellow and become soft and limp. They may also develop brown edges.

On the other hand, if the tree is not getting enough water, the leaves may turn yellow and become dry and brittle.

How To Remedy

The remedy for watering issues is to adjust your watering practices. Dogwood trees prefer soil that is consistently moist but not waterlogged.

If you’ve been overwatering, reduce the frequency of watering and ensure the tree’s soil has good drainage.

If underwatering is the issue, increase the frequency of watering, especially during dry spells.

Chlorosis

Chlorosis is a condition caused by a lack of chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green color. In dogwood trees, chlorosis is often a sign of iron deficiency.

How To Identify

If your dogwood tree is suffering from chlorosis, its leaves will turn yellow, but the veins will remain green. The yellowing often starts at the tips of the leaves and spreads inward.

How To Remedy

To remedy chlorosis, you can apply an iron supplement to the soil around your tree.

It’s also beneficial to ensure your tree’s soil drains well and has a slightly acidic pH as this helps the tree absorb iron.

Other Nutrient Deficiencies

In addition to iron, dogwood trees need a range of other nutrients to thrive. Deficiencies in nutrients like nitrogen, magnesium, and manganese can also lead to yellowing leaves.

How To Identify

Nutrient deficiencies often cause distinct patterns of yellowing. For example, nitrogen deficiency often causes the older leaves to turn yellow while the younger leaves remain green.

Magnesium deficiency causes the edges of the leaves to turn yellow while the area around the veins stays green.

How To Remedy

To remedy nutrient deficiencies, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer, like this one for acid lovers, to the soil around your tree.

It’s also a good idea to have your soil tested to determine its nutrient content and pH as this can help you choose the right fertilizer for your tree.

Pests

Pests can cause a range of issues in dogwood trees, including yellowing leaves. Common pests of dogwood trees include the dogwood borer, aphids, and scale insects.

How To Identify

If pests are causing your dogwood tree’s leaves to turn yellow, you may notice other signs of pest activity, such as holes in the leaves or trunk, a sticky residue on the leaves (honeydew), or the presence of the pests themselves.

How To Remedy

To remedy pest issues, you can use horticultural oil (neem oil works well) or insecticidal soap to kill the pests.

For severe infestations, you may need to use a systemic insecticide. It’s also important to maintain the overall health of your tree because healthy trees are less susceptible to pest infestations.

Diseases

Several diseases, including powdery mildew, leaf spot diseases, and anthracnose, can cause the leaves of dogwood trees to turn yellow.

How To Identify

If your dogwood tree is affected by a disease, you may notice other symptoms in addition to yellowing leaves.

For example, powdery mildew causes a white, powdery coating on the leaves, and leaf spot diseases cause small, brown spots on the leaves.

Anthracnose causes large, tan to brown spots that often extend along the veins of the leaves.

How To Remedy

To remedy diseases, remove and dispose of any infected leaves to prevent the disease from spreading.

For severe infections, you may need to use a fungicide (I use this one). As with pests, maintaining the overall health of your tree can help prevent diseases.

Root Damage

Root damage can stress dogwood trees and lead to yellowing leaves.

Root damage can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical damage from construction or landscaping activities, soil compaction, or root diseases.

How To Identify

If root damage is causing your dogwood tree’s leaves to turn yellow, you may notice other signs of stress in your tree, such as stunted growth, dieback in the branches, or a general decline in the tree’s health and vigor.

How To Remedy

To remedy root damage, avoid activities that can harm the tree’s roots, such as digging or driving heavy equipment near the tree.

If soil compaction is an issue, aerate the soil around your tree. If you suspect a root disease, consult with a local extension service or arborist for advice.

Environmental Stress

Environmental stressors, such as extreme temperatures, drought, or pollution, can also cause the leaves of dogwood trees to turn yellow.

How To Identify

If environmental stress is causing your dogwood tree’s leaves to turn yellow, you may notice that the yellowing is more severe on the side of the tree facing the stressor.

For example, if drought is the issue, the leaves may turn yellow all over the tree, but the leaves on the sunniest side of the tree may be the most affected.

How To Remedy

To remedy environmental stress, provide your tree with appropriate care, including regular watering during dry spells, protection from extreme temperatures, and, if possible, protection from pollution.

Conclusion

Yellow leaves on a dogwood tree are a sign that your tree is under stress. By identifying the cause of the yellowing and taking appropriate action, you can help your tree regain its health and beauty.

Remember that the best defense against tree issues is to provide perfect growing conditions and practice sound cultural practices.

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