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Fighting Spot Anthracnose in Dogwoods

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The dreaded Dogwood anthracnose, Discula distructiva, is a death knoll for that loveliest of native trees. There is another disease called spot anthracnose caused by a different fungus that fortunately is cosmetic instead of fatal. It causes problems when we have a wet spring with high humidity and may just make small lesions on the leaves that you probably won’t even notice it.

At other times it causes blemishes on the white bracts that we call the petals, the actual flowers are the small structures in the center. If you have troubles every year, there are fungicides that can control this disease but you’ll probably need a professional company in order to spray the entire tree repeatedly. There are resistant varieties and you can check those out in Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center factsheet titled Dogwood Diseases and Insect Pests.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.