4 Reasons Why Is The Bark Peeling Off My Dogwood Tree?

Dogwood bark peeling can be caused by natural growth, insects, diseases, or physical injuries.

Dogwood trees are well-known for their lovely spring blooms and vibrant autumn foliage. But sometimes, they go through a bit of a rough patch with their bark peeling off, and that can mean trouble for your tree. Let’s dive into what might be causing this and how to help your dogwood tree bounce back.

Q: What causes the bark to peel off a dogwood tree?
A: Anthracnose is another fungal disease that can cause your tree to lose its bark. It commonly affects flowering dogwood and sycamore trees. With this disease, fungus can quickly grow out of control and completely take over the tree.

Why Is Your Dogwood’s Bark Peeling?

There are a few things that can make your dogwood’s bark peel, like:

  1. Pesky Insects: These dogwood borers and other creepy crawlies love to tunnel under the bark, causing it to peel away.
  2. Nasty Diseases: Dogwood anthracnose and other diseases can also be the culprits behind the bark peeling.
  3. Physical Mishaps: Sometimes, your dogwood might get a little roughed up by lawnmowers, string trimmers, or other objects, leading to bark damage and peeling.
  4. Environmental Stress: Things like drought, extreme heat, and other environmental stressors can weaken your dogwood, making it more prone to bark peeling.

Q: How do you treat peeling bark on trees?
A: If bark is peeling with no other symptoms, it’s likely because of weather stress. Stressed trees benefit from the right amount of water and organic mulches. So, hydrate the tree when its soil is dry and apply organic mulch in spring and fall.

How to Help Your Dogwood Tree

Now, let’s talk about what you can do to get your dogwood back on track. The right treatment depends on the root cause:

  • Insects: If those bugs are causing the trouble, it’s time for an insecticide or a call to an arborist.
  • Disease: If it’s a disease that’s ailing your dogwood, consider applying a fungicide or trimming off the infected parts of the tree.
  • Physical Injury: When it’s due to physical harm, safeguard your tree from further damage.
  • Environmental Stress: If stress is the issue, do your best to create the perfect environment for your tree to thrive.

Q: How do you repair damaged bark on a dogwood tree?
A: The best help for your tree is to clean the edges of the scrape with a razor knife, removing any loose bark. Do not apply wound dressing or paint. Water regularly to reduce stress and place mulch under the tree to keep the soil cool.

Q: How can you tell if a dogwood tree is diseased?
A: The first symptoms that appear in the spring are spots on the leaves and flower bracts. Leaf symptoms develop first in the lower canopy and progress up the tree. Infected leaves have tan spots with purple edges, dry brown margins, or large blotches on them.

Here are some hands-on tips:

  • Spy on the Tree: Check for tiny holes in the bark or sawdust on the ground nearby. If you spot these, insect trouble may be afoot. In that case, don’t hesitate to contact an arborist.
  • Bye-Bye Infected Branches: If there are branches that look sick, it’s time for them to go. Remove and dispose of them properly.
  • Avoid Tree Mishaps: Steer clear of using lawnmowers or string trimmers near your tree. And if you absolutely have to, be extra cautious not to harm the bark.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dogwood trees love a good drink. Regular watering, especially during scorching, dry weather, is a must.
  • Give Some Food: Come spring and fall, feed your dogwood tree with balanced fertilizer to keep it happy and healthy.

Q: What is the disease on the dogwood tree bark?
A: Crown Canker Of Dogwood (Collar Rot) Symptoms: smaller than normal leaves, pale green leaves, and early red fall coloration, especially on individual branches along one side of the tree. Later, the canker forms a sunken area on the trunk. The bark will dry and crack, exposing the wood underneath.

Q: Is a tree dead if the bark is falling off?
A: Sometimes bark loss means a tree is in trouble – or is already dead. Dead trees ultimately lose their bark – sometimes while still standing, sometimes not. But they’ll also give you other clues, such as dropping foliage, branches that become brittle, and branch wood that shows no green when you scrape into it.

Preventing Dogwood Bark Peeling

The best way to deal with bark peeling is to prevent it in the first place. It’s all about giving your tree the love and care it deserves:

  • The Right Spot: When planting, pick a sunny location with well-drained soil for your dogwood.
  • Stay Hydrated, Buddy: Keep up with the watering, especially when it’s hot and dry.
  • Feed Your Tree: Twice a year, give your dogwood tree a little meal with balanced fertilizer.
  • Mulch Magic: Spread mulch around the base to keep the roots cool and moist.
  • Regular Check-ups: Make it a habit to inspect your tree for signs of insects and diseases. If you spot any problems, get in touch with an arborist right away.

So, if you catch your dogwood tree losing its bark, don’t panic! Identify the cause and take action promptly. With some TLC and the right steps, you can keep your tree thriving for many years to come.

Dogwoods come in many different colors. Some flowers bloom all year long, while others bloom only during spring and summer. Dogwoods also produce fruits that vary in size and shape. 

Q: How do you help a struggling dogwood?
A: Put down several inches of mulch around the base of the tree (not touching the trunk). The mulch will cool the soil and help it retain moisture. Check the leaves regularly during hot, dry spells. If you see wilting leaves in the morning, water the tree immediately and thoroughly.

Q: What to do when a dogwood tree looks sick?
A: Drought-stressed plants seem more susceptible, and physical damage to bark may provide an entry point for fungal infection. Recommended actions: Prune away diseased branches. In severe infection cases, cut the plant all the way to the ground and allow it to resprout.

Related: Best Mulch For Palm Trees

When A Dogwood With Peeling Bark Is Normal? 

Kousa Dogwoods are deciduous trees native to eastern North America. They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. Their bark peels off in irregular patterns, exposing a colorful underbark. 

The bark peeling off is a feature of the tree’s appeal. Its autumn display of purple foliage adds another dimension to the tree’s beauty.

Another time that peeling bark on dogwood trees might be normal is when it happens because of wild herbivores rubbing against them. Squirrels, rabbits, deer, elk, moose, and other animals often rub their antlers or stand on the trunk of a tree. 

These actions can damage the bark and cause it to peel away. Some small rodents, like squirrels, can also chew on the trunk and cause the bark to fall off. 

None of these conditions will harm the tree but would be considered a wildlife problem and completely normal in certain areas.

Related:Mulch Before Or After Rain

Dogwood Tree Bark May Be Peeling Due To Disease

Dogwood Anthracnose is a fungal infection that affects many species of dogwood, including Cornus florida, C. kousa, C. maxima, C. nuttallii, and C. sericea. It is caused by the fungus Grosmannia clavigera, which enters through wounds or cuts in the bark. 

Symptoms may appear as small brown spots at first, then become larger and darker. As the disease progresses, the bark becomes dry and brittle, and eventually falls away. 

It is important to note that while the disease is not fatal, it does weaken the tree and can lead to death if left untreated. Dogwood Anthracnose should be treated immediately when spotted, as it spreads rapidly once established.

Pests That Cause Tree Bark Flaking On Dogwood

Dogwood twigs are often found in the woods, especially near streams and rivers. If you see them, you might think they’re just dead wood. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that there are small holes at the base of each twig. 

These are actually the entrance tunnels of the dogwood twig borers. Once the larvae hatch out of the eggs, they begin feeding on the bark of the tree. When they’ve eaten all the bark, they move down to the next layer of bark. 

Eventually, they will leave the tree altogether and pupate. After about 10 days, the adult beetles emerge and fly away.

When scale insects get out of control, they can cause damage to plants. Their presence is often noticed by the smell of sulfur. Scale insects are soft bodied and easy to remove manually. 

However, once they become concentrated, they can cause severe damage to plant stems. When they are removed, they leave behind a sticky residue that can lead to further infestation.

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Adila Zakir

Adila Zakir (USA Federal Drug Authority Certified) Studied medical and medical-related business at the same time Overcame search lethargy Worked for medical search and business marketing consultation Expert in medical writing and has special interest in immunity boosting foods.

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