3 Causes of Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown [How to Fix]

Dogwoods are deciduous trees with gorgeous spring blooms covering the whole canopy. Because of such eye-catching beauty, dogwoods are a good pick for gardeners.

But it’s not that easy to grow this plant as they are quite susceptible to different diseases in varying climatic conditions. Most of the symptoms start with foliar damage which leads to killing the whole plant gradually.

Browning leaves of the dogwood is such a problem. And before treating, you should know why are the leaves of the dogwood turning brown?

Fungal attacks, pest infestations, and over or inadequate watering are the main causes of dogwood tree leaves turning brown.

In this article, I have discussed those causes in detail with the most effective treatment.

So, without losing your time, let’s get started.

Why Are the Dogwood Leaves Turning Brown? [Treatment]

1. Fungal Attack on Dogwood

It’s pretty obvious that your dogwoods may suffer from fungal injuries. These attacks are quite common in tropical plants due to humid climatic conditions. The common forms can include ascochyta blight, anthracnose, septoria leaf spot and so on.

You might be wondering how to detect such attacks. Well, these are easily traceable. The primary diagnosis symptom is some white powders gradually turning the leaves brown.

Some additional foliage deformations that may help you to look for fungi in your plant are purple blotches, irregular shapes, and grey spots.

Control Measure

It’s important to take proper measures against fungal attacks before they take over your whole plant. Let’s take a look at what you can do for your plants.

Fungal infestation can be controlled with some proper management practices. Removal of infected leaves and twigs can reduce the severity of fungal infections.

Don’t forget to clean your garden equipment after pruning as fungal residues can spread to your other plants.

Lastly, Apply a fungicide to treat your plant. I recommend copper-based fungicide to get rid of fungal attacks on dogwood (Our Pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide). This can widely be used for any sort of fungal attack.

Home Remedies

In case you are in urgent need of controlling a fungal infestation, I can suggest some easy remedies. But remember, these may not be as effective as commercially formulated fungicides as plants in different regions have different responses to any treatment due to some weather conditions.

#Recipe 1: Baking Soda Solution


  • 5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 10 to 12 drops of liquid soap
  • 5 liters of water


  • Add baking soda to water. Then mix some liquid soap into it.
  • Pour this into your garden sprayer and apply it to your foliage.

#Recipe 2: Milk Spray


  • 1 liter of full cream milk
  • 10 liters of water


  • Add milk to water to prepare a liquid solution
  • Shift this to your lawn sprayer and apply it to your plant.

Preventive Measure

Humidity is the main culprit in the spreading of fungal diseases. You may not be able to control this on your own, but some methods can help to skip such conditions.

To prevent fungal attacks, keep pruning your bushy dogwood for proper air circulation. This will also keep your plant in a good shape and apply the fungicide when your new leaves start to emerge.

Though you can’t control heavy rainfall, try to maintain a proper distance among plants before planting or replanting. Also, don’t choose a shady place; a good sun facing landscape will be a blessing for your dogwoods.

Delay in disposing of garden debris is another common mistake done by growers. Fungal spores from this thrash can spread really fast by rain. So just roll your sleeves up and get this job done as soon as possible.

2. Pests – The Most Unwanted Guests For Dogwood

Pests are one of the most annoying garden issues to mention. In association with fungal diseases, these can cause severe infestation in your dogwood. Some pests work as a vector responsible for spreading disease. So, it’s very much necessary to treat pest problems.

Small brown spots of insect feeding, leaf curling, and brown leaves are signs of the presence of insects in the plant. Sometimes you can also find the cluster of aphids or tiny mites, whiteflies, and thrips in naked eyes.

So, how to deal with them? Not to worry, I have come up with some easy yet effective pest control ideas for your dogwood. Keep reading.

Control Measure

Before jumping into any pesticide I would like to advise you to maintain some hygiene in the garden. Keep your backyards clean as much as possible.

Still, if you observe some infestation, try to control it with some management practices. Minute insects like aphids and mites can be washed away by some good water splash. This method can also remove insect larvae.

A small caution here, follow this practice on a sunny day, as wet conditions can encourage fungal growth in association with these pests.

Now let’s come to the issue of severe pest attacks. In such a case you may need a good pesticide for your plants. A systemic one is always suitable for large trees(Our Pick: Bonide Insect Control Systemic Granules). Just put some according to the instructions around your plant roots and you are good to go.

A horticultural oil-based one is always a wise pick. So, don’t miss this one. (Our Pick: Neem Organics Pure Neem Oil)

It’s better to avoid any pesticides at the pre-flowering stage. This can be harmful to the pollinators responsible for your pretty blooms.

Home Remedies

Did you know that you can also make some concoctions to repeal pests in your garden? Never too late, let me show you how.

#Recipe 1: Chili Garlic Spray


  • Crushed/ powdered chili and garlic
  • 100 ml of vegetable oil
  • A few tablespoons of mild liquid soap


  • Crush the chili and garlic in vegetable oil or mix the powdered one.
  • Add the liquid soap to the mixture.
  • Soak this overnight to get a better concentration.
  • Apply it to the affected plant parts.

#Recipe 2: Alcohol Spray


  • 1 gallon of 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  • 2 and a half gallons of water.


  • Mix water and alcohol together.
  • Transfer the solution to a sprayer and apply it to your plant.

I have talked about the most common criteria for your leaf browning issues. But what would happen if your plant is already in a bad condition? Here’s a bonus for you to save your dying dogwoods.

As I have mentioned different conditions before, these can gradually kill your plant. Dry droopy leaves and infected branches are indications that you should take the deal seriously. Not to worry much, some efforts can revive your dogwoods. Just some patience is needed.

First of all, serve proper moisture to your soil. Mulching is a good practice in this case. Also, allow proper drainage to the soil.

Your plant can regenerate if the barks are still alive. So, work on them. Treat the diseases as soon as possible. If needed trim off the affected parts.

Last but not the least, keep checking further attacks and take proper measures to combat them.

3. A Wrong Watering Schedule – The Commonly Overlooked Pothole

You might have checked all the possible reasons behind your dogwood leaves turning brown, but still can’t control them. Think again, maybe it’s high time you should check your watering schedule.

Both excessive and inadequate watering can turn your dogwood leaves brown. So, what’s the difference between these two conditions? Let me tell you a common symptom to detect.

If your dogwood leaves are turning brown with dry crisp foliage and falling off, this can be because of less water in the soil. Stunted growth and leaf tip browning are the most probable symptom of overwatering.

Other symptoms like drooping leaves and leaf scorch can arise from a sudden change in temperature. To cope with such fluctuation there may be insufficient moisture in the soil which you may have skipped.

Control Measure

A proper watering schedule can help you in such a condition. Here is my suggestion for you.

Normally tropical dogwood requires water in mostly summer and fall seasons. Regular watering once in 7 days is recommended most of the time. A depth of 15 cm watering is sufficient.

Mulching is a good practice to conserve water at the base. 4-5 cm mulching can help your dogwoods in hot summers. This method is a good treatment for leaf scorch in your dogwood as you do have not to worry about dry soil for quite a period.

However, you should water according to weather conditions. It’s a basic rule as you know. Just keep a close observance of how’s your plant is reacting to such conditions. Moist and well-drained soil is preferable in most cases.


I have tried to provide a guideline for your brown leaves issue in the dogwood. There’s nothing much to do actually. Just some close observations of what your plant needs.

Let’s go through it again. Check your soil conditions often, try to provide good aeration, and if severe problems arise treat your plant according to the directions and you are all set to grow some lovely blooms.

Our comment section is open to you. Don’t forget to share your experience and any sort of suggestion. Happy gardening.

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