Red Dogwood Tree – Trunk Is Dead But New Growth From Base

Q: We have a six-foot red dogwood tree we planted last spring. The main center trunk has died but it has some new growth coming from the base. Should we remove the dead part and save the new growth? 

A: Your dogwood is almost certainly a grafted tree. An attractive red-flowering twig was grafted onto a vigorous white-flowering seedling. Now, for whatever reason, the red-flowering part of the tree has died and the white-flowering rootstock has sprouted twigs and leaves. You can remove the dead trunk but the surviving lower part will not produce red flowers.