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Cornus anthracnose is a fungal disease that kills leaves and young shoots of some North American Cornus species (dogwoods). Infections cause dead blotches on leaves and die-back of young stems.
Cornus anthracnose is a fungal disease caused by Discula destructiva, which arrived in the UK from North America in the late 1990s.
It infects and kills the leaves and young shoots of some North American Cornus species (dogwoods). Cornus florida is particularly susceptible, Cornus nuttallii and Cornus kousa may also be attacked. Native UK Cornus species appear unaffected.
Damage occurs from late spring until leaf fall in the autumn.
You may see the following symptoms:
There are no fungicides available to amateur gardeners with specific recommendations for use against cornus anthracnose. However, the fungicides tebuconazole (Provanto Fungus Fighter Concentrate), tebuconazole with trifloxystrobin (Provanto Fungus Fighter Plus, Toprose Fungus Control & Protect), and triticonazole (Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra and Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra Gun) are labelled for the control of other diseases on ornamental plants, and could therefore be used legally on Cornus (at the owner’s risk) to try and control anthracnose.
Inclusion of a fungicide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Fungicides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining fungicides available to gardeners)
Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: storing and disposing safely
The fungus Discula destructiva causes extensive damage in North America to the native Cornus species, which are an important landscape feature. The disease is known there as anthracnose and was first noted in the 1970s. The fungus is not thought to be native to North America, but its origins are unknown. It was first detected in the UK in the late 1990s and was probably introduced accidentally on infected plant material.
The fungus produces very small, pimple-like fruiting bodies on dead leaves and stems and in wet weather minute spores are released from these and dispersed by rain-splash, wind-blown rain and, probably, by animals and birds. Wet conditions are required for infection.
No other spore types are known and it is assumed that the fungus can remain dormant in affected twigs and bark during the winter, to produce fresh spores the following spring.
Brown leaves on woody plants
Disposing of diseased material
Pruning for colourful stems
Trees and shrubs with attractive bark
Why has my tree or shrub died?
Willow anthracnose, scab and canker
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