LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - A gorgeous native Georgia tree, associated with Easter, is declining in parts of the state.
On busy Highway 19 in Leesburg, a few lovely native Dogwood trees withstand sidewalk construction.
The Dogwood tree has shallow roots. When they are not mulched, not watered, or damaged by a lawn mower or construction, the tree will struggle.
"Normally if Dogwoods are planted in the right place in the right soil and well-watered, they can over come these pests," said Lee County Extension Agent Doug Collins.
But there is a disease that is killing off this quintessential Georgia tree.
"There is an Anthracnose disease that is affecting Dogwoods in extreme North Georgia," said Collins.
The disease could potentially spread south, but it hasn't.
"But here we see a number of different reasons why dogwoods decline, although you will often see them out in the open growing quite large with a beautiful display of flowers," Collins said. "Dogwoods really prefer to be an understory plant."
University of Georgia scientists are tracking the decline of the Dogwood, and encouraging people to pick healthy trees and plant them properly.
"The State Department of Agriculture inspects plant materials to make sure they are disease and insect-free," Collins added. "You want to be sure to purchase a healthy plant."