Dead tree

Asked May 31, 2017, 3:04 PM EDT

Would appreciate your input on why our tree may have died. Looks to be a weeping cherry tree pictures are attached. I think it's about three years old and we noticed last fall that it was dying. We kept it in to see if anything would come back to life in the spring but it looks exactly the same. Do you know what afflicted the tree and how to prevent it from happening again?

Calvert County Maryland

2 Responses

We viewed your photos and there may be several reasons for the lack of establishment/decline of the cherry tree but we cannot give you the exact cause. Some issues may be physical damage to the trunk, poor planting techniques, planting too deeply, poor nursery stock, etc. All of these problems can make the tree susceptible to insect and disease issues. Take a look at our publication for more information on these problems

We do not know how the tree was planted or cared for. If the tree was balled and burlapped and the burlap was not removed or rolled down completely, this would impede the lateral roots to grow outward.
If the tree was container grown, it is sometimes necessary to use a sharp knife or blade to cut four one-inch-deep cuts the length of the root ball. New roots will rapidly grow from the cut areas of the roots to ensure that they will grow outward and not in a circle around the root ball.
We notice red marks around the base of the trunk and are not sure what this is. Also, there is a brown discoloration at the base of the trunk and may be a type of canker or possible borer.

In general cherry trees are not long lived trees. If you want to replant, you may want to select another species of tree for the site.
Make sure the tree is not planted too deeply. You should be able to see the flare at the base of the trunk where it joins the root system. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk.
Watering - Check soil moisture of newly planted trees and shrubs at least once a week. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine.You can move the mulch and probe with a screwdriver. If the soil begins to dry out, water the plant thoroughly. Do not overwater; however, you can easily drown newly planted trees and shrubs through too much tender loving care with the hose. See our website for more information on the planting process and post planting care


Thanks so much for the thorough response. What a great resource the UMD Extension is!