We planted a dogwood tree in our back yard that is approximately four years old, so it is still pretty small. Last year, we noticed the bark was missing on one side, so we sprayed black protectorant to cover where, we think, deer ate or rubbed off the bark. Now the top is dead, but the bottom, around four feet high is bushy, green, and healthy looking. Should we prune the top off? Is the tree going to survive?
It sounds like the tree produced epicormic branches, which happens when a tree is stressed. It is hard to say if the tree will make it. You may be left with a shrub-looking dogwood. Since it is young, I would consider replacing it and putting deer guards on the stem to protect it.
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