Cherry Tree problem

Asked July 21, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

Many yellow leaves dropping. A few with tiny holes. A couple of tiny, tiny yellow spiders. Not many. Some branches with spider webs & brown curled leaves.

Question: Do you think application of "Summer compost tea root enhancer" will save my tree?

My brother, Paul Sullivan, asked you. This is the response he forwarded to me:

Here's the response to your question:

Yellowing and browning of leaves can indicate many different things from environmental problems such as too little or too much water, spider mites or disease. This summer we have been seeing lots of cherry shot hole disease which can cause leaf yellowing but you would also see small holes in the leaves. Also cherry leaf spot disease, which also has been reported, causes premature leaf drop. So it is difficult to pinpoint the cause just from the information you provide. Your sister can send a question to:
and an expert from her area will answer it for her.

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

There is a lot going on here. Your brother's question in Maryland indicates that the tree was sprayed with a growth inhibitor. I doubt the root compost tea will hurt or help the tree. The picture you sent, with the sides of the leaves turning brown and curling does not look like any common cherry problem I am familiar with and I have worked with commercial cherry production for almost 30 years. There are two common diseases which cause cherry leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Take a minute to look at these two files and see if they look familiar. These are two common cherry diseases in Michigan which cause leaves to yellow and fall off the tree.

Let me know if they look similar to the symptoms on the tree.

The tiny spiders and webbing on the leaves are probably spider mites or another mite.

Mites can cause significant damage if there is no predator about. A spray of insecticidal soap is a good organic control for mites.

It is hard to say if any of these symptoms are caused by the growth regulator. Cherry trees do all their shoot growth early in the spring and it all stops in June. After that the tree is just storing up nutrients and reserves for next years growth spurt in the Spring. The growth inhibitor probably stopped most of that shoot growth but the tree should have plenty of leaves to survive.Fertilizing now might cause more harm than good. The best thin you can do is keep the tree well watered as the soils dry out this summer so the tree goes into the winter as healthy as possible