Cherry Tree Disease?

Asked August 29, 2016, 10:43 AM EDT

Can someone tell me what's wrong with my flowering cherry tree? It was planted in March. No issues until mid to late June then the leaves started turning yellow and got little holes in them. Picture enclosed. Thanks Joshua Garrett

Cherokee County Georgia

1 Response

On first glance, the picture looks like leaf spot, a fungal disease.

The pathogens that cause leaf spot diseases often overwinter in infected leaf debris. Some also infect buds and young twigs. During the growing season, wind and splashing rain carry spores of the pathogen to susceptible plant tissue and spread the disease throughout the canopy.

Most leaf spot diseases need either water on the leaves or very high humidity for a prolonged period of time (12 to 24 hours) to start an infection. Leaf spots often mature in one to two weeks. At this point each leaf spot produces spores or bacteria that can be spread throughout the canopy, starting a second set of leaf spots, or causing new infections on other plants. This cycle of infection and spore production repeats whenever weather conditions are favorable. As a result, in years with very high humidity or frequent rain events, leaf spot pathogens can spread throughout a tree or shrub's canopy resulting in severe disease.

I have some concern that this may not be the problem based on the fact that the plant was planted in the spring. I would like you to call the Cherokee County Extension office and speak with Josh Fuder, our horticulturist and agent. His direct telephone number is 770-721-7830 and the office is open Monday -Friday from 8-12 noon and from 1pm-5pm. He may have additional questions and thoughts about this matter.

Jan Lytle, Master Gardener Trainee