cherry tree drooping, dropping yellow leaves, brown leaves on the tree

Asked July 10, 2015, 2:35 PM EDT

Hello, Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed my sweet cherry tree (I believe Ranier) has started drooping and dropping yellowed leaves. I thought this was due to the recent storms until I noticed the leaves on the central leader turning brown on the branch. What should I do? I also have a sour cherry tree, apple, pear, and peach in the yard, but they appear hale and hearty. These trees were all planted two or more years ago by the previous owner of the house.

Prince George's County Maryland trees and shrubs cherry trees

3 Responses

Your cherry tree may be suffering from a 'root' problem. This could be the result of a traumatic event in the root zone of the tree, such as a nearby construction project, excessive compaction in the root zone, or a change in drainage.
You might also examine the tree trunk carefully for any signs of boring insect activity, i.e., entrance/exit holes, frass (sawdust) at the base of the tree, etc. Cherry trees are very attractive to boring insects and their activity can result in rapid death of a tree.

Upon further research, I believe my tree may be suffering from verticillium wilt. There is no evidence of boring in the trunks, and there is no recent activity which would damage the root system. Please advise.

A lab test may be needed for positive identification of verticillium wilt. One quick test you can do yourself is to check any discoloration in the vascular tissue of an infected branch.