I live in Auburn, AL. I have a potted Dogwood that I planted back in December. It was doing quite well, putting on leaves, sprouting, etc. until about a week ago. It gets around an hour of full sun a day on my balcony, and I water it thoroughly on a regular basis. I noticed that two of the bigger leaves were turning brown on the tips and suspected that it could be due to the direct sun exposure, so I immediately took it inside. A few days later, most of the leaves had the brown tips and were drooping. Now, less than a week later, all of the leaves, including the newest sprouts, are wilted, browning, and shriveled. The tips of the branches and trunk are also looking dark and appear to be trying to shrivel.
I water the soil when it is dry, and do check that it makes it to the roots. It is planted in Hyponex by Scotts if that makes a difference. I fertilized it once, back when the leaves were first putting out, about a month and a half ago, and I used well below the recommended dose. I do not have any equipment to test pH, etc. at the moment.
Why would my tree start to decline so quickly and suddenly? What should I do to help it to recover? Thank you in advance.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It could be that the soil was infected when you bought it, or that it got an infection from not having enough drainage in the pot. Either way, it is an infection. If it still has some life, I would replant in all new, clean potting soil, and add dolomitic lime and wettable sulfur to take out the remaining infection.
This article will give you information on the care of these: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/dogwood/caring-dogwood-trees.htm
Dogwood Trees can be very difficult to grow in containers. They need a very large container and well draining soil. Daily water is likely needed.
Direct sunlight is likely to harsh for a potted specimen. Leaf drop could be due to heat stress or sunburn.
Check the branches; do they bend or break and snap off. If the snap and break the branches have died off.
Scratch the bark, is it green underneath the bark? If you still see signs of life, give the tree time to recover.
The diluted fertilizer likely was not an issue, as daily water would flush from the container quickly. Don't fertilize a tree just starting out or try to make a struggling tree healthy by fertilizing.
Do make sure your container had adequate drainage; if the roots were sitting in wet soil it could also cause root rot.