Dogwood: Powdery mildew

categories: Dogwood Dogwood Diseases Ornamental trees Ornamentals

revision date: 2022-11-22 11:41

White powdery mildew on dogwood leaf.
Powdery mildew on dogwood leaf
Photo by: J. Chushcoff


Dogwood powdery mildew is caused by a fungus. It infects leaves, current-year twigs, blossoms, fruit, and buds. The first symptom is often yellow patchy areas on a leaf that become necrotic. White, thin, dry fungal growth may be seen on the lower leaf surface directly below the leaf spots. All plant parts can become covered with mycelia and spores. Infected new growth that is expanding may be distorted. Small, black, pepperlike fungal structures may be seen in the white fungal growth on leaves during late summer and early fall. The fungus overwinters on the leaves.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Plant disease-resistant cultivars. Limited information indicates that ‘Karen’s Appalachian Blush’ and ‘Jean’s Appalachian Snow’ are disease-resistant, ‘Cherokee Brave’ and ‘Sterling Silver’ are moderately resistant, and many cultivars of Cornus kousa are tolerant. Many red-flowered cultivars of Cornus florida are susceptible.
  • Improve air circulation to reduce relative humidity and accelerate drying of foliage.
  • Space plants well and plant in more exposed areas. Avoid planting in heavily shaded areas.
  • Irrigate with microjet sprinklers or soaker hoses to avoid wetting foliage.
  • Prune out and destroy infected tissue as it appears early in the year. It can be damaging to remove too many leaves.
  • In the fall, rake up and destroy fallen leaves.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • If you choose to apply a fungicide, your application will work better if it is made before symptoms develop.
  • Follow label instructions for application timing and intervals.
  • Complete coverage is important.
  • Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall.
  • Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.


Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.