Half of my cherry tree is not doing so well.

Asked May 9, 2015, 9:28 AM EDT

I moved to a house that has a 1/2 white and 1/2 pink weeping cherry tree. The pink side is doing ok but the white side looks dead/dieing with only a couple leaves at the end of some of the branches. I don't believe the previous owner did any kind of care for the tree. Is there anything that I can do to help the tree or do I now just have a pink weeping cherry?

Laurel County Kentucky

1 Response

Weeping cherry trees are made by grafting the weeping white variety at about a 5 foot height onto an erect rootstock that in this case has pink flowers. Weeping cherries are not normally grafted with two flower colors that have the weeping growth characteristic.

What has happened is that the weeping part of the tree is dying off, probably due to the two very cold winters that we have had back to back or the weeping portion has developed a canker disease. A sprout from the rootstock that does not have the weeping form was allowed to grow many years ago. It has not been injured and is prospering.

I would suggest removing all the dead limbs from the weeping portion of the tree. They will be brown beneath the bark when you cut into them and leave the limbs that still have some leaves. If the limbs continue to die I would suggest cutting off the dead/dying limbs on the weeping side of the tree and maintaining the pink non-weeping portion. There are not any treatments to cure cankers on cherries or to bring winter injured limbs back. Just keep the tree watered and fertilized to promote new growth.