Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Dogwood anthracnose, with the frightening name Discula distructiva, was first identified in north eastern forests in 1978. Beginning with attacks on leaves and twigs, this disease spreads to branches and trunks and has caused mortality rates well above fifty percent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For several years, foresters hoped it wouldn’t spread to southern areas, but in 1987 it was found in Georgia and the next year in north carolina. Now it has spread across the Applachian Mountain region and caused the death of over half of our dogwoods and lose of food for wildlife. It is especially prevalent at elevations 3000 feet and higher when cool, wet springs follow years of drought, and in trees growing thickly together and in dense shade. Fortunately, trees below elevations 2000 feet are usually not infected so most of South Carolina is spared.