Golden canker in soil?


Our pagoda dogwood died of golden canker. We cut it down to a stump last year and now several shoots are growing from the roots. Will this produce a healthy plant or is the new growth likely to get golden canker too?


Thanks for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Golden Canker (Cryptodiaporthe canker) is a fungal disease. Pagoda dogwoods seem to be the only dogwood species that are affected by this fungus. Trees can be infected without showing symptoms but generally infected trees exhibit golden yellow branches and orange spots may be visible on the branches.  These branches lose their foliage and die. The mechanism for spreading the disease is unclear but when it reaches the main stem, the tree will eventually need to be removed. There isn’t a definitive answer as to whether the new shoots will also develop golden canker but since the infection was extensive they probably will. It might be best to dig out the remainder of the tree. As long as there are no other infected trees nearby it is possible to plant another Pagoda dogwood in your garden.

To keep Pagoda dogwoods healthy:

  • Plant new Pagodas in a cool shaded site;
  • Mulch the tree to keep the roots moist;
  • Provide 1-2 inches of water for new trees and 1 inch for established ones. Especially ensure the tree receives adequate water during times of drought; and,
  • Fertilize trees regularly.

Alternatively if you are concerned that there might be another infected tree nearby you might consider replacing the Pagoda with another native tree such as a Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) or Amelanchier sp. (serviceberry).