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black branches, leaves and all

Lexington, SC

Many of the ornamental trees in our area (bradford pear, dogwoods, hawthorns, etc) have developed a plague (don't know what to call it really) where the entire end section of a branch will blacken. The leaves do not drop. but blacken just like the branch, and hang there slightly wilted-looking. I don't see any bug or inner change at the base of the section, but might be missing something. whatever it is seems to be contagious; it began with the pears and is now in my golden rain tree as well as the dogwoods and hawthorns. The wood, stems and leaves all turn black down to a fork in the branch. have cut off the black portion in some cases but the plague continues to return on various branches or further down the same branch.

Anyone know what this is? It has overwintered and started up with a vengence this spring. Thanks for any advice!

Fairfax, VA(Zone 7a)

Your description sounds a little like fireblight, but while hawthorn and pear are vulnerable, it wouldn't affect a dogwood or a rain tree. Are you sure it is the same disease? Could you post some pictures?

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