Disease of weeping cherry trees

Asked September 4, 2016, 1:12 PM EDT

We live in Middletown in Willowgate and several homes here have the beautiful ornamental weeping cherry tree. Ours and others have yellow leaves, black spots on leaves and branches- and look sickly. Is this a fungus from all of the rain? How do I treat? Ours was planted 8 yrs ago and always done well till now. Thank you!

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response

Ornamental weeping fruit trees can be just as susceptible to diseases as those grown for fruit. It does sound as if one of the leaf spot diseases could be causing the problems you are seeing in your neighborhood. The wet weather could definitely have been responsible for the damage you are describing. Insects, soil pH, nutrients and insects could also be part of the problem.

If this is a disease or insect problem, spraying now would not be helpful as fungicides are protective, (not curative in nature), and insecticides need to be applied while the insects are present. At this time I would wait and see how they respond in the spring. Leaf spot and signs of disease in spring means these trees may need to be put on a spray schedule (just like their fruiting cousins).

Disease and insect issues occur at different stages of development. Before, during and after bloom time is the most important time to spray and prevent these problems.

Pit fruit such as cherries are closely related to peaches so the spray schedule available through the supplied link includes cherries, plums and peaches.

This is a new publication with a simplified spray schedule for peaches:


The Fruit Spray Schedule (more detailed than simplified publication) with organic options:


A soil test can tell you about the soil chemistry including pH.

The following are University of Kentucky's routine soil testing instructions.

*Take multiple examples of the area to be tested, 4 to 8 inches down.

*Mix these together to equal 2 cups of soil.

*Allow to dry thoroughly.

* Put in clean baggy/container and bring to the Extension Office at 810 Barret Ave.

* Bring cash or check, its $7 for each area to be tested.

The test result are mailed to you (we get a copy too) with your soil’s pH and readings of major and minor nutrients along with information on how and what to change for the plants to be grown there.

The University of Kentucky will test your soil, get results back in about 2 weeks, and make recommendations all for 7 bucks. It is the best deal in horticulture!

For more details on taking a soil sample:


Feel free to contact our office if you have other questions.

Let me know if I can help you further!

Carol Wilder
Horticulture Technician
Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service
810 Barret Ave
Louisville KY 40204