How to Treat a Dogwood Tree That Has Had the Bark Stripped Off


The flowering dogwood grows throughout the United States. The flowers, which are generally white but can also be pink or red, bloom in early spring. A full-grown dogwood averages 20 to 30 feet in height and width. It's a beautiful tree, with dark green leaves that turn red in the fall, red berries and hard, heavy bark. If the bark is stripped, however, it leaves the tree vulnerable to insect infestation and disease. It's important to treat your tree promptly if the bark is stripped or nicked.

Step 1

Inspect your flowering dogwood tree carefully in the spring, looking for spots where the bark is nicked or stripped off. If you see any trouble spots, treat them promptly to avoid insect infestation.

Step 2

Use a sharp knife to cut off any damaged bark. Carefully remove any scraps of bark with your fingers. Cut the bark around the exposed area into an elliptical shape--long and narrow.

Step 3

Generously pour denatured alcohol onto a clean cloth. Denatured alcohol is a mild solvent available at paint and hardware stores. Wipe the exposed area thoroughly to clean and disinfect.

Step 4

With a clean paintbrush, apply tree paint or shellac. Keep an eye on your tree; if you notice decay in the open area, you will need to treat it again.

Step 5

When winter approaches, wrap your dogwood tree so the area with exposed bark is protected. Start below the area you aim to protect and wind the wrap around the tree tightly. Cut the wrap and tuck the end in.

Tips and Warnings

  • Prevention is the best answer. Avoid the problem by taking care when pruning your tree and mowing the lawn so you don't damage the bark.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Clean cloth
  • Tree paint or shellac
  • Clean paintbrush
  • Tree wrap


  • University of Connecticut: The Dogwood Decline
  • Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture: Repairing Tree Injuries
  • University of Kentucky Agricultural College: The Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: caring for flowering dogwoods, reparing stripped bark, treating tree disease

About this Author

Janet Clark has worked as a professional writer for nine years. She has had more than 400 articles published. Her work has appeared in The Iowan, Iowa Gardening, Friends Journal,The Des Moines Register, Today Magazine, Fort Dodge Business Review,The Messenger, and She has also written a novel, Blind Faith. Clark has received several awards from the Iowa Press Women for her work.