cherry tree fruit rot

Asked June 21, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

Why do my cherry trees have rotted or rotting fruit. It seems like the last three years this has happened. You see lots of fruit but by the time it gets ripe the clumps of fruit are rotted. what causes this and is there something I can do for it.

Columbia County Oregon cherry trees horticulture

3 Responses

Without a picture or a good description of the damage to the cherries, I’d guess that the cherries have one of three things: Brown rot, a common disease of stone fruits or one of two different small “worms” in the fruits (either the Western cherry fruit fly or the spotted wing fruit fly, the latter abbreviated SWD).

Managing brown rot requires an annual fungus spray during bloom which is combined with collecting and discarding all windfalls through the season as well as any mummies (dried fruits) that still cling to the branches at the end of season.

Limiting damage from the 2 flies primarily relies on cultural management: Collect all affected fruit, both windfalls and those still on the tree. Instead of composting them, discard them in the trash.

We can discuss the specifics of management for your cherries after you provide detailed descriptions of the problem. If possible, include pictures, one of the tree overall and another of some damaged fruits.

I look forward to receivng your response.

I do have a lot of dried up fruit on the tree and they do have brown rotted spots on the fruit. I have seen a few holes in some of the fruit but not many mostly brown rotted spots.. My trees look healthy. the leaves look good all have dark green color. Iam not able to get a picture at this time downloaded to send. I did have this same problem last year. I have two trees ones a bing and the other is a stella thank you barb

If mummies (shriveled) fruits hang on the tree after the leaves fell last season and/or through the winter, the problem is the common fungus disease, brown rot of stone fruits. The disease begins in the flowers; the tan, dead dry blossoms typically cling to twigs which may also die. The fungus survives from year to year in the fruit mummies and damaged twigs.

Treatment requires sprays during bloom; some people also spray prior to harvest. Each year, remove all mummies and blighted twigs from trees after picking. Also collect and discard affected fruits as soon as you see them through the season. Such management helps limit the disease but won't get rid of it. (In some cases, it’s easier to obtain your cherries from a farmers’ market!)

Resources for you:

- “Managing Diseases and Insects in Home Orchards” (The first page shows an advanced stage of brown rot.) Refer to the section for cherries.

- “Growing Tree Fruits and Nuts in the Home Orchard”

- “Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard”