Dogwood trees produce leaves that are a bright green when they are healthy. These leaves are long and narrow, with points at the end, and can usually reach around 3 to 4 inches long. These types of trees can be found throughout the eastern United States. If the leaves are curling on your dogwood, they are likely succumbing to either a fungus or a pest infestation, and this can compromise the health of the tree.
One of the most common reasons for leaf curling on dogwood trees, Discula anthracnose is a fungus infection that can attack your leaves in the early part of the growing season. This infection strikes as soon as the flowers and buds open and creates small purple blotches on the faces of the curling leaves. This infection distorts the tissue of the leaves, forcing it to curl, and will eventually cause portions of the leaves to fall out, leaving holes. Though the damage will not be serious, the infection is enough to leave the dogwood looking less than its best.
Spot anthracnose is another infection that will attack the leaves of your dogwood in the early part of the spring. This particular infection is also devastating to newly opened buds and can cause small purple spots followed by curling. It may spread quickly to other leaves on the tree, causing them to die and can eventravel to leaves on nearby trees. The branches and stems of your dogwood tree may also be infected.
Different types of mildew can also cause the leaves on your dogwood tree to wilt and curl. If you have powdery mildew on the leaves, it is likely due to a recurring infection. The mildew can grow over a few years and can ruin the overall health of your dogwood. In addition to bending the leaves over in a curling position, it will also weaken your tree, lessening its chances of surviving cold periods or extended droughts.
Preventing Leaf Curling
Most causes of curling can be prevented through proper ongoing care. You can plant your dogwood next to other cultivars that are resistant to mildew, and you can make sure the trees are getting the correct amount of food and sunlight. If the trees are still wilting and the leaves still curling, you can spray them with fungicide to get rid of the infections and fungi that are forcing the leaves to curl.