Can I buy bulk blood meal? Where?

Asked June 16, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT

My mature cherry tree is dropping leaves. They are yellowing from the veins out and dying. The internet suggests nitrogen and/or iron deficiency. Blood meal is a good source of both, but I need enough to feed a large tree cheaply. Any suggestions?

Multnomah County Oregon

4 Responses

Cherry trees in our region have numerous leaf problems due to various diseases. A fruit tree planted in the soil of a home garden seldom needs to be fertilized with a packaged product. In general, such trees receive adequate fertilizer elements if mulched with compost. Then, too, trees in our region are seldom short of iron because of the prevailing acid reaction of local soils. So, we need to determine what is going on before you add an unnecessary fertilizer.

To start the diagnostic process, please send me at least 3 images: one of the tree and its surroundings; a 2nd of a midway shot which shows the distribution of the affected leaves; a 3rd shot which is a close-up view of affected leaves and/or branches.

Also include some of the history of the tree. Some of the details that may be useful include these:

- When and how it was planted (Did you do it, or a previous owner?);

- How do you water it (sprinkler; hand-held hose; drip; or?);

- How often do you water during the summer?;

- How do you decide when the tree has received adequate water?

I look forward to receiving your pictures and information.

The tree was maybe planted around the 1950's when the house was built. I acquired it about 10 years ago. I usually give it fertilizer spikes once or twice a year. I water it sporadically in the summer, hose, drip and sprinkler. Sometimes I time the watering sometimes I stop when I need the hose for other things.

Thank you for sending the images. I can tell you that the yellow foliage is not a deficiency of either nitrogen or iron. But I can't tell a yet what it is. I have requested advice of another Expert and will contact you again after I hear from him.

My consultant and I think that, even though it doesn’t appear that herbicides have been applied on your side of the fence, they are causing the off-color leaves. That idea is supported by the fact that only a portion of the tree appears to be affected.

There are suggestions in your images that the new leaves at the tips of the affected branches are normal. That would indicate the tree is already outgrowing the problem. (If so, please send me a picture that shows both normal and affected leaves on the same branch.)

I suggest you provide normal care for the tree. Water deeply at least once a month during the dry months when the tree is in leaf. Add mulch on the soil surface underneath the tree branches. Bark chips work well for trees when applied 3 to 4 inches deep. Or use bark dust several inches deep. Don’t fertilize because it will force unnecessary growth.