I have a Yoshino Cherry tree in my front yard that is approximately 15ft tall...

Asked January 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

I have a Yoshino Cherry tree in my front yard that is approximately 15ft tall and about as wide. I planted it in full sun in the center of my front lawn almost 8 years ago. It stands alone so has good air circulation. It is kept well mulched with no mulch touching the base of the tree. It has grown well and appears healthy. Every Spring it blooms beautifully and then leafs out like a healthy tree. However, it gradually drops its leaves so that it is practically leafless by mid-summer. I have seen ants on it presumably because they like the sap?? Can you tell me what is wrong and what I can do to treat/prevent the problem? The tree currently has what appear to be healthy buds ready for Spring. Thank you. Kellie

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

During the past couple of seasons, ornamental cherry trees in Maryland have been attacked by shot hole fungus disease, Coccomyces leaf spot. The causative fungus is Blumeriella jaapii. A cool, wet springs will bring on the disease,as the season progresses, a shot hole appears on the leaf,gradually the leaf will yellow and prematurely fall off. sometimes an infected twig will split causing the sap to appear, hence , the reason for the ants. Commercial fruit growers will experience the same problem but control it by frequent applications of fungicides.For the home owner ,this may not be practical because a fungicide would have to be applied after every spring rain.Suggest sanitation , removing infected leaves frequently, pruning diseased twigs during the dormant season and apply a dormant copper fungicide for suppression.See the attached.