A plant that has anthracnose looks like the Cornus florida variegata (Variegated dogwood) shown at right. The telltale sign is shriveling from the bottom of the leaf tips.
Anthracnose is an airborne fungus and likes cool wet (and usually shady) conditions such as we’ve been having this spring in the greater Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.
We usually tell homeowners to avoid overhead watering of species that are susceptible to this disease, but this spring nature all by itself made the conditions right for this pest to do it’s damage.
If your tree, fruit or vegetable plants get this disease, prune out damaged/dead branches, clean up the fallen leaves, and dispose of all affected material. DO NOT COMPOST IT!!! It’s best to keep the area beneath trees that are susceptible to this disease litter-free.
An even better plan is to not plant trees and food varieties that are susceptible to this disease. If you must have dogwood here in the PNW, choose a Kousa dogwood, it almost never gets anthracnose. Or plant your Florida dogwood in full sun, keep it pruned for good air circulation, and don’t let it get over-spray from your irrigation system… and pray. :-)
There are plenty of trees, and food plants that don’t get the disease. And as with many other ornamental and food plants, choosing varieties that aren’t susceptible to the pests that live in your neck of the woods will make your gardening experience more trouble-free, less laborious, and more fun! Be a choosy gardener!
A good fact sheet with a list of shade trees that are susceptible to anthracnose is here.