Do you have a dogwood tree in your yard and are wondering what is causing the holes in the leaves? You’re not alone. Many people have been asking this question lately. In this blog post, we will discuss the possible reasons for the holes and suggest some solutions.
Why Are There Holes in My Dogwood Leaves?
There are likely holes in your dogwood leaves because dogwood borer larvae are feeding on the leaves. The larvae are small, white grubs that are often found near the base of the tree.
If you suspect that your dogwood has a borer infestation, you can confirm it by looking for sawdust-like material (called frass) around the base of the tree or on the ground beneath it.
The dogwood sawfly is another possible culprit. Sawflies are small, yellowish-green insects that lay their eggs on the underside of dogwood leaves. The larvae hatch and feed on the leaves, causing them to turn brown and eventually drop off the tree.
Other pests, like scale, can also cause holes in dogwood leaves. Scale is small, hard-shelled pests that attach themselves to the tree and feed on the sap. They can be difficult to control once they’ve infested a tree.
Take a closer look at your dogwood leaves and try to identify the pests. They can hide well, so it may take some time to find them.
How to Treat Dogwood Leaves with Holes?
To get your dogwood tree healthy again, you’ll need to treat the leaves with holes.
If borer larvae are causing the holes, you can use an insecticide to kill them. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and apply the insecticide when the larvae are active, which is typically in late spring or early summer.
My favorite method of pest control is to use neem oil (Amazon link), an all-natural, non-toxic product that’s safe for people and pets. Neem oil will kill the pests and help to prevent new infestations.
Simply mix the neem oil with water according to the directions on the bottle and spray it on your dogwood leaves. Be sure to coat both sides of the leaves and reapply every week or two until the pests are gone.
If scale is causing the holes, you can remove them by hand using a toothpick or cotton swab. Gently insert the toothpick or cotton swab under the scale and lift it off of the leaf. You can also treat scale with neem oil, following the directions above.
How to Keep Pests Away From Dogwood Leaves?
To prevent pests from damaging your dogwood leaves, make sure your garden is clean and free of debris. Pests love to hide in tall grass and under leaves, so keep your yard tidy.
You can also use traps to catch pests before they have a chance to damage your dogwood leaves. Sticky traps are a great way to catch pests like scale, whiteflies, and aphids.
Beneficial insects, like ladybugs and lacewings, will also help to keep pests away from your dogwood leaves. These insects eat the pests that damage plants, so encourage them to take up residence in your garden by planting native flowers (like daisies and black-eyed Susans) that attract them.
The key is to keep an eye on your dogwood leaves and to treat any pests that you find as soon as possible. With a little effort, you can keep your dogwood tree healthy and free of holes.
What Else Causes Holes in Dogwood Leaves?
There are a few other possible causes of holes in dogwood leaves, including:
Dogwoods are prone to many diseases, including powdery mildew, canker, and leaf spot. These diseases can cause holes in the leaves as well as other symptoms like discoloration and wilting.
If you think your dogwood has a disease, take a sample of the affected leaves to your local nursery or cooperative extension office for diagnosis.
Using a fungicide is the best way to treat most diseases. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and apply the fungicide at the first sign of disease. Neem oil is also effective against many fungal diseases.
Even though deer tend to leave dogwood leaves alone, other animals like rabbits and voles can damage them. These animals usually eat the leaves from the edges inward, so if you see this type of damage, it’s likely that an animal is to blame.
The best way to prevent animal damage is to fence your dogwood tree. A wire mesh fence with a Â½-inch mesh size will keep most animals out.
Should I Prune Dogwood Leaves with Holes?
Pruning is not necessary unless the leaves are severely damaged. If more than half of the leaf is missing, you can prune it off to encourage new growth for the other half of the leaf.
Pruning is also a good way to remove diseased or infested leaves. This will help to prevent the spread of disease and pests to healthy leaves.
When pruning, be sure to sterilize your pruning shears between cuts with rubbing alcohol or a household cleaner like Lysol. This will prevent the spread of disease and pests.
In conclusion, there’s a good chance that pests are the cause of holes in your dogwood leaves. These pests can be controlled with neem oil, traps, and beneficial insects.
If you think your dogwood has a disease, take a sample of the affected leaves to your local nursery or cooperative extension office for diagnosis. Pruning is not necessary unless the leaves are severely damaged.
I hope you found this information helpful and that your dogwood leaves are soon looking healthy and hole-free! Thanks for reading!
Tim is an avid gardener from the UK. He was the founder of PlantCarer.com from 2021 to Sep 2023. He sold PlantCarer.com to Aaron. He has since started his own business called Seed To Supper, which provides new gardeners all the materials you need in a box (pots, seeds, compost and instructions) to grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs from start to finish – no garden required.