We have a weeping cherry tree which is at least 20 years old. We noticed bark...

Asked July 6, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

We have a weeping cherry tree which is at least 20 years old. We noticed bark deterioration last year but this has progressed this year. many branches are missing leaves, some leaves have small holes in them. ( We have seen quite a number of beetles) The tree has been hearty up until this point planted on an incline, in Howard County's clay rich soil. WE are concerned and hope there is something we can do to prevent its demise.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

We can't say exactly from the photo what is killing your tree. We can see that some branches were pruned off leaving large stubs instead of being pruned back to the branch collar, which is closer to the trunk. Unfortunately, big stubs are an invitation to infection and disease.

Beyond that, however, weeping cherry trees are often infested by peach tree borers. Their boring under the bark often leads to bark sloughing off, which may be what is happening to your tree. It is very difficult to prevent borers and stressed trees are especially prone to them. Although your soil is rich, an incline does not absorb water quickly (nor does clay) because the water runs off too quickly and, consequently, there is more possibility of drought stress.

You can have a certified professional arborist associated with a tree service company come to look at the tree (no charge), but from your description it does not sound as though it can be saved.