What can I do to protect my Weeping Cherry

Asked June 13, 2018, 10:49 AM EDT

Please see the attached picture. My four weeping cherry trees are a good 10 years old. Just passed this 2017 winter, in this spring the tree bark looks like this, in the picture. I am very concerned that my 10 years old healthy tree is not healthy anymore. What can I do to protect it?

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

Unfortunately, there is substantial damage to the bark and it looks like there are borer holes and decay fungus as well (an indicator of dead wood). A tree with this much damage to the bark isn't likely to recover. The vascular system (tissue that transports water and nutrients) lies just under the bark. With the bark coming off like this, that system dies and you will get substantial die back in the tree. If you still have some healthy growth in the canopy, you can just enjoy the tree for now as it declines, or take it down and plant a replacement. We can't see in your photo how deep the mulch is around your trees. Make sure it is not too deep and do not place mulch right up against the trunks. Mulch should be no more than 3 inches deep and keep it about six inches away from the trunks. Too much moisture against the trunks can lead to disease/pest problems and causes the roots to grow up into the mulch.
If your other trees are showing early symptoms of bark damage, we encourage you to consult with a certified arborist. They can evaluate the health of your trees and diagnose any early pest/disease problems. They can also provide management/treatment recommendations. You can find an arborist using the following website from the arborist association: http://www.treesaregood.org/

In addition, here is an article about how to decide when to remove a tree:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/how-do-you-decide-when-remove-tree

ckc