Cherry tree death

Asked April 11, 2018, 8:41 PM EDT

I have a 3 year old cherry tree that has turned up its toes and died. Curious as to what happened. Late last summer, suddenly all the leaves withered and some of the branches became all wrinkled-looking. I've noticed the same thing happening on my Kwanzan cherry tree as well, but to a lesser extent. Any idea what kind of crud these trees have, and what can I do to get rid of it before it kills my Kwanzan? Thanks!

Columbia County Oregon

1 Response

Your cherry tree most likely succumbed to bacterial canker, a disease that moves in the vascular "plumbing" of the plan and damages tissue critical tissues need for plant survival. If it happens on a branch, it may not be immediately fatal. If the primary site is on the trunk, the tree generally won't last long.Usually, there is some gumming (hence an alternative name for the disease is "gummosis"). Pie (sour ) cherries are resistant and a few sweet cherries seem somewhat tolerant (Stella, Sam, Regina, Lapin, maybe). In general, the ornamental cherries seem a bit more resistant but again, that varies with variety. Kwanzan is thought to be resistant when mature but susceptible when young. Winter dormant copper sprays may help some. Good air circulation is also helpful as is doing your pruning in the summer when it is drier, after flowering and/or fruiting. Here is a link to more information on this disease: https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/cherry-prunus-spp-bacterial-canker and specific to ornamental cherries: https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/cherry-flowering-prunus-spp-bacterial-canker

If you have any more questions, please call me at the Columbia County Extension office 503 397-3462. Chip