weeping cherry tree

Asked September 6, 2014, 10:16 AM EDT

We have a weeping cherry tree which this year is about 40 percent covered with leaves. We notice what appears to be saw dust at the base of the tree. We wonder what may be causing this and what we can do about it.

Jackson County Michigan

1 Response

Your first concern should be the 40% leaves. This indicates that there is a problem with the tree's vascular system- the roots and or the trunk and branches. This might be a response to the severely cold winter and the tree not being able to handle it. With the lack of leaves, there is a big chance that the tree's life is limited. When more than half the tree is dead, there is not a big chance the tree will recover, with or without sawdust.

Check the tree to see where sawdust is coming from. It could be carpenter ants living in the heartwood. Essentially, they don't do much damage because they are in the heartwood which is not alive. It might be some kind of wood borer. They do more damage. Ants could be ignored. But if it is a borer, there is not much of any pesticide that is going to get into the tree. Keep the tree watered if the soil is dry but don't fertilize it. That will probably kill the tree.