one of our cherry trees (about 4-5 years old) appeared fine in the beginning...

Asked May 26, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

one of our cherry trees (about 4-5 years old) appeared fine in the beginning of spring however suddenly (within a few days) 95% of the healthy leaves and flowers wilted. It now appears dead. What could have caused this problem? other trees do not appear affected.

Columbia County Oregon

1 Response

Since other trees and plants in the area are alright we can rule out an event such as a herbicide drift issue. We can probably also rule out that the mortality was caused by winter damage. Since the tree collapsed rapidly and totally it is likely that there is a constriction in the trunk as opposed to some other part of the tree such as the roots or a branch. Normally with a root problem the symptoms would first show up on only one side of the tree. As the disease spread the entire tree may be engulfed, but with roots, that takes time. If it is a problem in a branch, then only that branch would be affected. Only with damage in the trunk is it possible for the entire tree to die at once. The most likely cause of this problem is a disease called bacterial canker. Cherry trees, especially those grown in western Oregon, are very susceptible to this disease. Here is more information about this disease on cherries.