Cherry Tree Care
I have an ornamental cherry tree in front of my townhome that appears to be dying. Last year a couple of branches appeared to be dead. This year several more have died. Is there anything I can do to save this tree? Thanks for your advice, Suzanne McGee
Cobb County Georgia
Thank you for contacting UGA Extension with your tree questions. From your picture, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of your branch dieback. However, older cherry trees will commonly have branch dieback from drought stress, root loss/damage, stem cankers, and branch competition. This tree appears to have a rather dense canopy and may have several branches that are over-crowded. Often, a combination of these factors causes branches to dieback in an older tree. In any case, the best solution is to prune out the dead or diseased branches. Early removal of branches with stem cankers may help limit the spread of any diseases, if present. Dead branches can be removed any time of they year. However, the best time to do any major pruning or thinning to the canopy branches is in late winter or early spring.
Also, be sure to minimze and avoid any root damage from heavy equipment and lawn mowers that could lead to root rot and decay. Check to make sure there are not any ropes or wires tied to the main trunk of the tree. We often see trees several years old that never had the stakes/ties removed and these can girdle the main trunk causing limbs to dieback.
For more information about proper pruning techniques and shade tree care, see the following Extension publication online: