Symptoms on dogwoods may also be caused by diseases or abiotic (environmental) factors. Heavy infestation can kill the plant. The dogwood borer is a pest which in its larval or caterpillar stage eats terminal shoots or burrows beneath the bark and destroys the healthy tissues. Large trees are seriously injured from dieback of branches and loss of large patches of bark over mined areas on the trunk. The adult midge is a small, delicate, brown fly. The dogwood sawfly is an occasional pest of dogwood. Best wishes with your dogwood. Perennials. Management is seldom needed, but if desired, wear gloves and manually remove and discard the larvae. Infested twigs should be clipped off several inches below the girdled or infested portion and destroyed. During the dormant season (when leaves have fallen from deciduous trees)  apply a horticultural oil (4% dormant rate) to control overwintering immature scales. American dogwood bark is still used today as medicine, but not very often. To monitor for this pest, look for tiny (1/8 inch long), oystershell shaped, and brown to gray scale covers on the bark of wilting or dead branches. Yesterday I found bark damage on my 15 year old dogwood -- from bottom of tree extending about 8 inches high , 2 to 3 inches across -- bark scraped or torn off. Powdery Mildew: Erysiphe pulchra (formerly Microsphaera pulchra) is the fungus that attacks leaf surfaces and tender shoots and causes powdery mildew. They lay eggs under bark plates or in bark crevices on the main trunk or larger branches. District of Columbia, No pruning paint or sealer is recommended as it can interfere with the healing process. Dogwood Borer. Borers like dogwood trees, in part, due to their thin, easily injured bark, which borers penetrate and use as breeding space. This beetle has yellow/tan wing covers with a black line down the center and along the margins. Most flower and fruit, and have dazzling fall displays as the leaves change color. The female lays eggs on the undersides of the leaves. The adult beetle emerges from infested twigs in the spring and the female lays her eggs in healthy twigs. The dogwood borer is the major pest of dogwood. These animals have different feeding preferences, so it is a good idea to first of all identify the problem. Avoid planting these in unfenced areas. Most attacks occur around basal wounds caused by lawn mowers and string trimmers. Refer to our pages on common dogwood diseases, abiotic problems, and tree care. Central Maryland Dogwood borer – The bark is injured, with fine boring dust on the trunk and branches in late summer. It is about 3/8 inch long, blue-black with two yellow bands around the abdomen, and resembles a wasp. Oysershell Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi). The female moth lays her eggs on the bark of the tree and is particularly attracted to injured bark, scars, and other rough areas on the trunk. Yet, the dogwood bark has been used for its sweat-producing, narcotic, and analgesic properties since 1844. Photo: James Solomon, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org. The bark, which is the primary source of therapeutic benefits, has an acrid and bitter taste that causes a burning sensation in the mouth. Bark is completely removed from stems or in irregular patches; Damage occurs in winter and the bark is removed only below the snowline; Only bark is removed, no branches or small stems are cut off as in rabbit damage; Wood will show scrapings the size of fork tines Rake and destroy fallen leaves. Photo: Bruce Watt, University of Maine, Bugwood.org. Selecting a tree appropriate for your site, planting it correctly, and providing regular care are essential steps to prevent common pest problems of dogwoods. Wounds of this size need to be treated as soon as possible and should be watched carefully. Apple trees grown on dwarf rootstocks are more prone to DWB infestation; therefore DWB has become a more common pest as many growers have transitioned to smaller trees. This is an armored scale and, unlike the cottony maple and calico scales, it does not produce honeydew. Dogwood Sawfly (Macremphytus tarsatus) larvae. There is one generation each year. It most frequently attacks trees that are stressed or injured. Adult female scales are 3/16 inch long, black, flat, and oval. Small trees are often killed. When a Dogwood with Peeling Bark is Normal. Spores are spread by wind to surrounding dogwoo… Some of the twigs may be dead above the gall, and the tree may be deformed. The most satisfactory way to protect the trunk from lawn mower damage is to drive three metal stakes into the ground about 6 … New growth will often come in spring, but then suddenly die as the roots starve. Keep the tree well watered during dry periods and make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the trunk. What You Can Do Keep a layer of mulch around the plant to keep the soil cool and moist, which in turn will help to keep the tree healthy. The dogwood larvae bore into the wood cambium. Maintaining Your Newly-Planted Dogwood. Dogwood trees are damaged by the feeding activity of the dogwood borer larva under the bark of the trunk and limbs. The larvae bore into the tree and feed in the phloem (tissues that move plant foods produced by leaves) and outer sapwood. The dogwood clubgall midge is responsible for spindle-shaped swellings near the tips of dogwood twigs. REC, Dogwood Insect Pests: Identification and Management, Flowering Dogwood Trees: Selection, Care, and Management of Disease Problems, Why Are Leyland Cypress Trees Turning Brown, Azaleas and Rhododendrons: Common Diseases and Abiotic Problems, Boxwood: Preventing and Managing Common Pests and Diseases, Diagnosing Problems of Azaleas and Rhododendrons, Ornamental Fruit Trees: Preventing, Diagnosing, and Managing Problems. There is only one generation each year, with the larva overwintering inside the twig. Here is a short list of species that tend to do the most damage to trees. Damage will appear in the form of lost leaves and dead branches. A summer rate (2%) spray of horticultural oil may be used in summer, if necessary. Post-fire recovery is generally more rapid after surface fires than after crown fires. Larvae of this insect feed underneath the bark, and can kill the tree. Bark damage or cuts near the base of the trunk are often caused by lawn equipment damage, such as from lawn mowers or string trimmer hitting the trunk. The adult is an elongate (5/8 inch long) beetle with long antennae. Female calico scale insects are very conspicuous in May. This should be done after wilting occurs and before adult emergence in the spring. A light infestation will cause little harm, but a heavy infestation can stunt a tree. Dogwood Borer (Synanthedon scitula) Adult. They are about the size of a pinhead and light-colored. Depending on the age of the Kousa dogwood, the trees take on a different appearance. They will be found where honeydew and/or sooty mold (a fungus that grows on honeydew) are present. Photo: David Laughlin, Horticultural Student, Bugwood.org. Ask an Expert is made up of groups and individual experts. Dogwood Borer Damage at the Base of Flowering Dogwood. This insect usually does not cause serious problems. 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