My, what tiny leaves you have!
All summer I stewed about the dogwood. The trunk shouldn't be so weird looking, I thought. Having convinced myself the tree was being suffocated by a girdled root, I weighed my options, and decided to call an arborist. I'm embarassed to admit how little I know about trees: they are usually big, usually green, and don't like being drowned in mulch or whacked by lawn mowers. But I did know that every time I passed the dogwood, regardless of the direction I took, I ran into the same thought, that something was wrong and I was not the person to make an accurate diagnosis.
According to the perky arborist, who called my trees by personal pronouns and petted all five of my dogs, my dogwood has a problem with dogwood borers. Apparently, it hadn't read its tag. It also has a tree wound of myserious origins. After completing a root collar excavation and soil tests, it was determined that the tree didn't have a girdled root, or any strange diseases, and that other than being full of borers, the reason for half the tree being covered in tiny leaves was unknown.
Dogwood borers are insidious little creatures that bore tunnels into the trunks and damage the vascular system.
The war has started and it's me against the borers. I have only one weapon, a pesticide deep within the realms of the Dark Side. My favorite garden center smartie advised me to paint it on the trunk, which prevents it from contaminating the other plants or running into the soil. I hope it works.