Cherry tree blossoms die

Asked July 30, 2016, 11:42 PM EDT

This spring I pounded in jobes fertilizer sticks around my cherry tree . It had hundreds of blossoms but 99% of them just shriveled up and died . Last year the tree had half the blossoms , but most died . What could be causing this mass die off of blossoms . I used to get thousands of cherries. Thanks Barry

Waukesha County Wisconsin

1 Response

I am assuming that the foliage and other aspects of the tree were fine. I can't tell from your descriptions if the blossoms showed signs of blight or if simply they did not form fruit.
In recent years commercial cherry growers have been bothered by brown rot during bloom. This is a fungal disease caused by the European brown rot pathogen. This pathogen is more active at cooler temperatures than the traditional American brown rot pathogen. See the following two articles for more details. Fungicide sprays during bloom is the only control option.


http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/european_brown_rot_blossom_blight_outbreak_on_montmorency_tart_cherries

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/new_old_options_for_european_brown_rot_control_in_tart_cherries

There are other possible causes for blossom death, including low temperatures during bloom or chemical spray burn, or micronutrient deficiency. However, European brown rot is the most likely cause.