cherry tree mold/worms
We have an 8-year-old Stella cherry tree in our backyard. It produced good fruit yields for its first four years. For the past few years the fruit begins to ripen, and then as soon as it ripens a mold takes over and makes the fruit soft and unappealing. Also, when we cut into the cherries, we often find a small grey worm against the pit. We have used dormant sprays in the past, but they do not seem to take care of the problem. Any recommendations?
1. Sanitation – Collect infested fruits (on the tree, vine, canes or ground) whenever you see them; place in a securely closed plastic bag then set in the sun for at least 6 hours.
2. Exclusion - Net the fruit, entirely or in part with inexpensive tulle (fabric for wedding veils)
3. Harvest promptly; better yet, a bit early
4. Trap – You can easily make traps from materials you likely have at hand which will help reduce the population as it can grow at a mind boggling rate. The best baits are either apple cider vinegar or white wine. (Regular white vinegar doesn’t work.) The SWD page has the specifics, as well as brief videos for making traps; placing traps; and more.
5. Pesticides, organic or not, are considered a last resort. Active ingredients available to home gardeners are listed in the above linked document. When using pesticides of any sort, always follow the label’s directions exactly. If you have suspected infected cherries this year, please bring some samples to Multnomah County Master Gardener office, Montgomery Park, 2701 NW Vaughn St., Suite 450, Portland, OR 97210; Phone: 503–445–4608; Hours: 10 AM – 2 PM, Monday – Friday. Thank you for your inquiry. If you have further questions, please ask.