sickly cornus alternifolia

August 17, 2019
last modified: August 17, 2019

This was planted in autumn 2017.. many call these plants of merit... I've yet to notice any merits as it has been sickly two consecutive seasons... pretty much zero growth...what's up?

Comments (11)

  • Embothrium

    For starters you don't have it planted in a grass free area, grass and young trees are enemies - the grass right up to the trunk could be making it struggle just by itself.

    Otherwise all plants come with a set of parameters that the planter has to work within, because the plant cannot go outside of them. The spots could indicate a problem with the site conditions or they could be pathenogenic. At any rate spottiness is rather frequent on dogwoods that aren't getting the best circumstances. One thing that is definite about pagoda dogwood specifically is it has very little drought tolerance.

    splaker thanked Embothrium
  • splaker

    it has been bone dry here since 3rd week of June..I've tried to keep up with the watering... probably haven't been watering enough. But the struggles began even before the drought and I did have a good amount of grass-free area around the plant. I even mulched it but I have admittedly neglected it lately... I think there is some sort of pathenogenic factor.

    I should add that it gets quite a lot of sun... maybe not the best location for it..

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    by about this time of the year.. i am not overly concerned about ugly leaves ...

    there are so many variables that we just cant do much about.. so whats to do ... [cold wet long spring.. drought.. high heat in mid summer ... etc .... ]

    the leaves are still a majority green.. and still doing their job .. converting sun into plant food ... which is good in fall.. so it can store energy.. for next spring ...

    and since its deciduous.. they will all fall off this fall ... if you can .... clean them up as best you can ...

    give it a long deep drink ... now ... deep being the key word ... and otherwise keep it moist thru fall ... and i would hope that it will finally get settled in.. and have a better year next year ...

    you dont mention.. and i cant see from the pic.. how big a transplant it was ... nor how you planted it ... but i am sure.. its been growing.. underground.. where you cant see the progress ... and once it has the root mass it needs... it should take off ...

    and if it fails to impress you next year... shovel prune it.. or move it ... we dont win on everything ....


    ps: personally.. i never find that fert is a remedy for any of this ...

    splaker thanked ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
  • splaker

    Ken, It was a 2 gal planting... and still looks to be 2 gal! I may move it to a shadier` spot.. tons of these grow wild around here, but mostly as understory... it gets a lot of sun in this spot.. we had a lot of 90+F days this July and early August

  • bengz6westmd

    Yes, this dogwood will suffer in full sun, unless it's a very cool climate.

    splaker thanked bengz6westmd
  • splaker

    Beng, I saw one in Kentucky at a college arboretum - forget the name of it - and it was planted in full sun there! Kentucky is definitely warmer than my climate...

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    dont recall where you are .... but often... sun during the day can be offset by cool nights.. a recovery period.. if you will ...

    so.. comparing simply location ... but not perhaps.. elevation ... mountains.. etc ... may be risky ...

    in other words... just because KY is south of you.. doesnt allow one to jump to conclusions... or if you do.. its at your own risk ...

    in my observation .. most leaf damage occurs... in my MI ... in august.. when the nights stay in the 70's ... as compared to 60s in june.. or even 50s in may ... well.. thats when it shows anyway ... who knows when the actual injury to the leaf happened .... minor leaf damage can not appear.. until those hot days and hot nights ... not to mention.. thats when a lot of the molds/mildews and diseases spike ....


  • splaker

    ontario canada Z5 ken... don't know why my info is not appearing anymore

  • sam_md

    check out previous THREAD on this topic.

    splaker thanked sam_md
  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Splaker, your location info shows when folks are signed in via Gardenweb, but not if they sign in via Houzz. Mine shows regardless because I removed it from the zone line under advanced settings and added it on my Your Houzz page under

    Profile Information

    First name (publicly displayed)

    so that it is visible whether someone signs in under either of the URLs.

    splaker thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • Smivies (Ontario - 5b)

    Cornus alternifolia grows easily and widely in the wild in z5 Ontario. Can't say why yours is not succeeding but I'd say the only conditions I have seen it struggle is in 100% full sun. Performance improves as it gets more shade...probably optimized at around 4-6hrs of full sun/day.

    splaker thanked Smivies (Ontario - 5b)

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