Browning, drying leaves on my cherry tree

Asked August 10, 2015, 6:47 PM EDT

I live in Colorado. This cherry tree is supposed to bear four different types of cherries. It blossomed a little and grew healthy leaves. Then, one day, I went out and all the leaves were brown and dried. It did have healthy stocks growing from the bottom. A friend said to remove them, as those were suckers and were taking the life from the top of the tree. We have had a very unusual summer this year with a lot of rain. Can you please provide me a solution for my tree?

El Paso County Colorado trees and shrubs jlk cherry trees

7 Responses

Thank you for your question. We will need several pictures of the tree − the entire tree, a branch, the leaves, where the tree trunk meets the ground.

If you are unable to submit pictures, let me know.

Thank you for the pictures.

What variety of cherry tree is it? What are the four types of cherries?
How deep do you have the black plastic rim dug into the soil?
How deep is the mulch around the trunk?
Why do you have the rope staking the tree? It appears to be growing straight. We would like a close up picture of the rope where it meets the trunk.
How long ago was it planted?
Do you fertilize your lawn? If so, how often and what do you use?

What variety of cherry tree is it? What are the four types of cherries? Montmoracy Cherry, Royal Ann Cherry, Van Cherry, Rainer Cherry
How deep do you have the black plastic rim dug into the soil? It's only about a half inch
How deep is the mulch around the trunk? Two inches
Why do you have the rope staking the tree? It appears to be growing straight. We would like a close up picture of the rope where it meets the trunk. We have very strong winds up by where I live. Please see attached pics.
How long ago was it planted? This tree was planted last May 2014.
Do you fertilize your lawn? No. If so, how often and what do you use? I did use some root stimulator when I planted it, that was last year. This year I put a fruit plant food spike about a foot away from the bottom of the tree.

Thank you for the additional pictures.

Your cherry tree has fire blight.

  • Fire blight bacteria can be spread by insects, splashing rain (we've had a lot this year) or contaminated pruning tools..
  • Management includes resistant varieties, cultural practices, pruning and preventive chemical sprays.

There is no cure for this disease, prevention is the best solution for the management of fire blight. Fire blight management methods include: planting resistant varieties, implementing cultural practices that favor growth of the plant rather than the pathogen, pruning to remove infected plant parts, and chemical sprays. Using resistant varieties is the most effective prevention method. Spraying chemicals is not recommended for homeowners because of chemical availability, potential phytoxicity and the critical timing of sprays.

Since your tree has multiple grafting joints (one for each variety of cherry) this could have been why it was more susceptible to this disease. You may have better results starting with a tree that has just one variety of cherry and is labeled resistant to fire blight.

Here are a few links from Colorado State University. Please read them and let me know if you have any additional questions.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02907.html

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1202.html

http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/VegFruit/Fruits/fetish.htm

Side notes: 1) Tree roots grow near the top of the soil, remove the black plastic rim you are using as a border.

2) Here is a good link for staking trees. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/634.html#purposes

Oh noooooo!!!!! Thank you for your answer, it is very appreciated.