Dogwoods dying

I inherited two rather spindly looking dogwoods when I moved into this house almost 5 years ago. I adore dogwoods, but these are tall, thinnish, too close together, and all the lower branches had either died out or been stupidly pruned.
They are native white Florida types. I am pretty sure they have anthracnose. (Baltimore area)
Two questions:
First, has anyone ever successfully saved a dogwood from this disease? Is there any treatment I should try?
Second, if there is no hope, and they will ultimately succumb, what would happen if I planted a new Kousa dogwood under them, to fill in as they die off? Would that be smart or dumb?
Can Kousas be pruned somewhat to have the same elegant, oriental type shape of the Florida species, or would that be foolish?
P.S. All the local dogwoods look pretty bad this year. Are some years hard on them? We've had a horrible, wet, long winter.
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Fungus diseases, in general, can go in waves, some years bad, some not. My first question involves how your trees are planted. In other words, are they located in spots which approximate what dogwoods really like? A bad example: In my first house, the prior owners planted a dogwood 18" from a blacktop driveway, which, of course, is like a pancake griddle in the summer. Wrong. The tree was always struggling. We finally developed a watering routine which seemed to help the tree look better during years when diseases were rampant.
Where are yours planted? Can you be MUCH more specific about how close the two trees are? What surrounds them? How (if at all) do you water them? If they're surrounded by grass, what substances do you apply to the grass?
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They are within 3 feet of my neighbor's driveway. But, that driveway is slightly uphill from my house, and in addition there is a constant source of underground water somewhere near the trees, because a sinkhole developed near one of them this year. And, that's the side the water comes in the basement when the water table gets high.
So I don't think that lack of water is a problem. The trees are planted 3-4 feet apart, and are almost as tall as my 2 story house.
I NEVER use lawn chemicals or other chemicals in my garden. If pests get bad I either hose them off or use insecticidal soap.

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All I can say is that our dogwood was "assisted" once by a tree shmexpert who put all sorts of little hypodermic (or "hypobarkic" - my invented word) vials of medicine in the tree, and the next year, which was a bad one for fungi, the tree looked worse. Unless you want to take a shot at that sort of treatment, I think all you can do is help the trees be as healthy as they can be. That might include a soil test for pH and nutrients, because you never know.
Our sycamore also had fungus issues, and we were given some good advice: Even though fallen leaves are *usually* great for mulch or compost, we were told to clean up and discard the leaves from the sick tree. You should probably do the same for your dogwoods in the fall. As far as the distance between your trees, that sounds close to me, but I have not checked any expert sources. Have you? What about your cooperative extension service?

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You are saying that a Google search turned up absolutely nothing on the subject? I find that hard to believe.
The species name is Cornus florida. The species is native to the Baltimore area, not introduced from Florida.

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http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/prints/dogwoodprobs.html here is site talks about how to lower risk to florida. I am now using corn gluten meal for "weed and feed" but it is also said to have anti-fungal properties. here is my kousa .. it definitely has that oriental look to it with NO pruning at all. greatest benefit is that the flowers stay on the tree for a long time. in 2002 the flowers bloomed on 6-10 and were just beginning to "go" on 7-28 (zone 5) of course afterwards they develop the red fruits that are interesting to eat. http://weloveteaching.com/landscape/kousa/kousa.html

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I have several dogwood trees, some were here before the house was built. Two have died. Tree boring insects were the culprit. We have lots of woodpeckers and birds which help. Dogwoods do better mulched (this keeps weed wackers away from the trunks.) They are very disease prone, but there are varieties that are disease resistant. This year my town (Oak Ridge) has officially become part of the Dogwood Festival trail!
Cut off any dead limbs and keep the bark clean.
I used the dead dogwood and turned some knobs on my lathe. Beautiful pink-red wood, and very dense.

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From what I've seen, fighting anthracnose on dogwoods is a losing battle. Often the problem is compounded by borers and possibly by other conditions as well.
Are some years harder on them? Yes, it seems (in this area at least, a bit south of you & near the coast) years with hurricanes are very hard on them, especially trees in the open. The salt spray (even a small amount), wind, and general stress (like much too much water for days) seems to weaken them further.
Although most in this area have succumbed, a few have survived, and it would be great if they were selected and cloned for the nursery trade.
I haven't much experience of what is good to replace them. I've got one Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ('Shasta' viburnum), and it provides a large flowering shrub at the same time as dogwood. It should do well in your area.
Best of luck.
Mike Prager On the North Carolina coast - Zone 8a (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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cloned for the nursery trade.

Look into Kousa dogwoods. Have a good time!
Bill
--
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade garden in a Jungle Japanese manner
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