apparent disease on cherry tree?

Asked June 10, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

The pictures are of a cherry tree in my yard. It bloomed wonderfully this spring but since has seemed to develop a disease or pest of some sort that has caused many leaves to turn brown. Please help me figure out the best course of action. Thanks, Paul

Lincoln County Oregon

1 Response

It looks like the dead leaves are from just one or two branches and the rest of the branches are okay. The details in the picture are not great enough for me to see exactly what's going on, but the symptoms are similar to what you would expect from a disease called bacterial canker. This disease causes a canker to form on a branch. The canker grows until it cuts off the nutrients and flow of water to the leaves, so that the leaves and everything above the canker dies. Look for sap flowing from a branch below the point where the leaves are dead. If you take a knife and cut below the bark the wood underneath will be brown.

Unfortunately, there are no good control measures. You can try to cut out the infected branches by cutting the branch out at the point that it arises from the trunk. This may or may not stop the spread of the disease to other parts of the tree. Pruning you tree in the late summer, when the bacteria is dormant and there is no rain, will stop new infections from arising due to pruning. Spraying the tree with a copper based bactericide at leaf fall and again just before bloom, may or may not help.