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Saturday, June 11, 2016

WHY I NO LONGER PLANT PAGODA DOGWOOD

PAGODADOGWOOD IN BLOOM (Google photo)
PAGODA DOGWOOD KILLED BY GOLDEN CANKER
Saturday, 8:15 AM.  75 degrees F at the ferry dock, 69 on the back porch.  Wind ENE, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The humidity is 62% and the barometer rising, now at 29.95".  It will be warm and sunny today but turning much cooler and with chances of rain for the week ahead.  It looks like this afternoon will be fine for a top-down ride in the old Saab convertible.  We are having some work done on the house, and I have construction debris to take to the dump this morning.
   Pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, in the Dogwood Family, is a woods and woods edge shrub or small tree native to Eastern North America.  Its common name describes its rather Oriental appearance, which is unusual and very beautiful.  It has excellent blooming, fruiting and fall color characteristic as well, so has always been high on my wish list of both native and non-native plants.
   Unfortunately, this species (alternifolia describes the alternate leaf and branching structure, which is rare in the genus Cornus) is highly subject to a pervasive, often fatal fungal disease, Golden Canker, Cryptodiaporthe corni. The genus name refers to the hidden nature of the disease spores, the species name to the genus Cornus.  This disease is probably endemic in the species.  A study by the University of Minnesota found over 62% of plants investigated carried the disease.  If it is not always fatal it certainly is disfiguring, and visually affected plants require constant pruning, along with sterilization of tools after each cut, to control the disease .
   Both the plant species and the disease are native to North America.  Just because a plant or animal is native does not mean it is disease or maintenance free.
   And, in this case, I have given up planting or recommending pagoda dogwood.
 

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