9 Reasons Why Dogwood Tree Leaves Turning Brown

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We already know that dogwood trees are trendy as ornamental trees for their stunning blooming, pleasant aroma, attractive bark, and vibrant foliage. It is essential to know what to do if you notice that leaves have started to turn brown.

Since a dogwood tree leaves turning brown can be a concerning site, here we will discuss potential causes and things you can do to prevent and treat the issue at hand.

Many people who are just starting often get confused and ask ‘why are the leaves on my dogwood tree turning Brown’ In this article, you’ll get to know why dogwood tree leaves turn brown, along with practical tips to keep your tree healthy and beautiful.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener, this guide will help you maintain a healthy and striking dogwood tree. Therefore, without wasting any more time, here is the answer to your question: why do dogwood tree leaves turn Brown?

9 Reasons Why Dogwood Tree Leaves Turning Brown.

9 Reasons Why Dogwood Tree Leaves Turning Brown.


You may be providing too much water, causing dogwood tree leaves to be browning. It is essential to establish a proper watering schedule. Suppose you don’t know how much water to give to a dogwood; it’s better to consult an arborist or professional.

According to the excellent rule of thumb, it is better to wait until the top 2-3 inches of soil dry out before you water it again. To prevent this, make sure you are paying attention to the watering schedule.

If the problem is overwatering, drain the soil’s excess water and consider improving the soil drainage to prevent root rot. Do note that overhead watering causes root rot as well as fungus problems.


Maybe dogwood tree leaves are turning brown due to a lack of water. If this is the case, I recommend you water your tree as deep as possible to revive its root. If you need to know how much water a dogwood tree need, follow the general guideline.

It is recommended to provide one to 1.5 inches of water per week to a matured dogwood tree through manual watering or rainfall. It is essential to water the tree deeply to help it penetrate the soil and reach the root. Also, mulching the soil around the tree base helps retain moisture better during high temperatures.

Pest Damage. 

Many pests, like scale insects, aphids, and mites, feed on dogwood tree leaves and bark, causing them to turn brown. If you don’t follow proper pest control and inspect trees regularly for signs of infestation, this issue is likely to arise.

If the pest damage has already been orchid, you should try applying the appropriate pesticide or insecticide. Call an arborist if a physical removal method is required. Implementing preventive measures like releasing beneficial insects or using horticultural oil is better. You should always follow preventative measures to protect your plant from Pest infestation.

Nutrient Deficiency. 

The dogwood tree leaves may also turn brown due to a lack of iron or magnesium. Nutrient deficiency causes dogwood tree leaves to turn brown and yellow if it lacks enough nitrogen.

To treat this issue, I recommend you first check this soil. Testing the ground to determine the nutrient content and pH level will help you choose the right fertilizer better.

To prevent this problem from recurring, you should always fertilize the tree regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Make sure you are following the manufacturing recommendation for application rate and frequency. You need to test the soil to make any necessary amendments.

Fungal disease. 

If dogwood tree leaves are turning Brown, it might be due to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, leaf spot, or anthracnose. If this is the case, I recommend you apply the correct type of fungicide to the kind of disease you are treating.

Also, follow the label instruction to ensure the proper safety of trees. To prevent the issue from recurring, it is essential to provide adequate air circulation and avoid overhead watering. It would help if you tried to keep your dogwood tree leaves as dry as possible.

Cold Damage. 

Since Dogwoods are sensitive to cold damage, they can turn their leaves to brown due to sudden cold snap. Make sure you are providing the required winter protection to your dogwood tree.

Consider covering your dogwood tree with a burlap or protective blanket during frigid days. If your dogwood tree is suffering from cold damage, I recommend you prune its damaged branches and provide proper protection from winter in the future.

Soil Compaction. 

Believe it or not, soil compaction may also lead the dogwood tree to turn leaves color Brown. If you don’t aerate the soil regularly to improve its structure, soil compaction is likely to occur.

If this is the case, I recommend you loosen the compacted dirt and improve its design using organic matter. Make sure you regularly aerate the soil around the dogwood tree to allow better water and nutrient penetration while improving its overall structure.


Sunscald on trees is expected in extremely high temperatures or due to exposure to direct sunlight. Sunscald can be the reason for dogwood tree leaves turning brown. If this is the case, I recommend you provide some shade cloth or move your dogwood tree to a shaded location.

Since moving a large dogwood tree to another place is impossible, consider wrapping it with shade cloth or material. It would help if you also considered protecting the tree trunk by painting it with white latex paint, which will reflect the sunlight.

Salt Damage. 

It is essential to check the pH level of the soil first before providing any salt to eat. Sometimes dogwood tree leaves turn brown due to exposure to high levels of salt. If this is the case, I recommend you flush the soil around your tree with fresh water.

It will remove any buildup of dirt. It is essential to avoid using salt-based deicer near the dogwood tree base. You should consider calling an arborist if the dogwood tree is near a heavily salted road or sidewalk.

Alternatively, consider planting a salt-tolerant species instead. A barrier may be helpful depending on the condition and surrounding environment. Add some organic matter to your soil, improving its ability to retain moisture and reduce salt buildup.


Can Overwatering Cause Dogwood Tree Leaves To Turn Brown? 

Yes, overwatering can cause dogwood leaves to turn brown. If their roots are continuously deprived of oxygen, they will become damaged. This will further result in leaves turning yellow and then brown. Do note that it can also cause root rot, a serious problem that can kill the tree.

How Do I Know If My Dogwood Tree Has A Nutrient Deficiency? 

If your tree is suffering from nutrient deficiency, you will see yellowing leaves, eventually turning down with time. Consider taking the soil sample and having it tested to determine if it lacks any such nutrients. In addition to this, dogwood trees may also have stunted growth.

Is It Normal For Dogwood Trees To Turn Brown In The Fall? 

Yes, it is normal for dogwood tree leaves to turn down during fall as they enter their dormant phase. This is when your tree will prepare for winter by shading its leaves to conserve energy. It would help if you did nothing, as it’s a natural process, not a cause for concern.

How To Determine If Soil Compaction Caused Brown Leaves On My Dogwood Tree? 

To know if this soil compaction is causing dogwood tree leaves to turn brown, check the soil around its base. If it appears compact and dense, soil compaction is likely to be the cause. As discussed earlier, you should consider aerating the soil and adding organic matter to improve the soil structure.


Dogwood tree leaves browning can be caused due to multiple factors, which include salt damage, soil compaction, fungal diseases, nutrient deficiency, cold injury, overhead watering, sunscald, and lack of water.

It would help if you first understood the specific cause of dogwood tree leaves turning brown and then take effective prevention and treatment. It is essential to provide proper care, including fertilization and watering, to help your dogwood tree grow healthy and prevent its leaf from turning Brown.