Pagoda dogwood partially covered with leaves

(Question)

I have had a pagoda dogwood shrub for about 6 years and it has always been very healthy. This year only about half of the branches have leaves on them. Some of the branches seem dead. I put shrub fertilizer on it yesterday. Suggestions?

(Answer)

The Pagoda Dogwood tree, Cornus alternifolia is a beautiful understory tree, especially so in the Springtime.  Only half of the branches leafing out, and the branches appearing dead may suggest Golden Canker, caused by the fungus Cryptodiaporthe corni. 

I have not been able to find another cause for the non-leafing of the branches. If the description and photographs do not appear to relate to your tree, you would be wise to contact an arborist for a correct diagnosis.

As a rule of thumb, fertilizers are applied only to healthy, thriving plants. A thorough watering would be appropriate to dilute the effect of the fertilizer.

We wish you much success in resuscitating your tree.