why are the leaves and branches on my apple and cherry dying

Asked June 13, 2016, 8:06 PM EDT

I have an apple and cherry tree that have suddenly started looking like they are dying. Leaves began to turn Brown in late spring on the apple and now suddenly the cherry tree appears to be doing the same. The apple tree had spots where the bark looks like it is splitting and peeling and the cherry has developed cankers and is oozing a red sap. At the same time a large maple tree in the same area is dropping leaves like crazy. It is mid june in wv and none of the fruit trees produced fruit this year. What's up?

Jefferson County West Virginia trees and shrubs horticulture

3 Responses

The pictures aren't terribly clear. The one of the apple trunk looks like a properly healed wound but I could be missing something. The one of the browned branch shows some improper pruning that will eventually result in a dead branch.

Short answer: Cherries have very thin bark that will sometimes split in the winter. Especially on the south and/or west sides. Apples are very difficult to grow due to diseases and if you're not spraying fungicides or have a disease resistant cultivar, leaves will look bad, sometimes there will be cankers, and overall, just not a good situation.

Long answer: Here's a link to several of UK's publications on home fruit. I would encourage you to look through these and see if anything hits home. Also, in order to really know what's going on, you need to take samples to your local Extension Service office. There they can correctly diagnose the problem and send you off with some things to do.

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id21/id21.pdf

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ID/ID219/ID219.pdf

Ok thanks for your time. Any idea why the huge maple tree is dropping all its leaves? I have several large maples on the property but this is the only one that is dropping massive amounts of leaves. All the trees are in the same area I was wondering if it could be something effecting all of them? Thanks again for your help.

Sorry, forgot about the maple question. There is an insect called the maple petiole borer that can cause maples to defoliate at this time of the year. No controls for it. Just rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them is about all you can do.

https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef405

Anthracnose is a possibility. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ppa/ppa17/ppa17.pdf

But you have to be realistic about any disease or insect on a mature tree....are you going to be able to spray the whole tree or are you going to hire it done?

Hope this helps.