cherry tree die back

Asked May 22, 2019, 9:48 AM EDT

I have three sour cherry trees in front yard, growing on sunny east facing slope ( 3 or 4 % slope) They are 3 year old and were doing very well putting up nice growth each year. This spring all 3 trees stressed , flowering failed and now thee leaves are dying back and falling off. I looked on line and seems like it might be crown rot ? I'm never sure about on-line site. I would like the advice of a Plant Pathologist. I they die can I replant on the same site? Thanks for your advice!

Washtenaw County Michigan diagnosis of plant problems cherry tree die back

4 Responses


Thank you for using the Ask an Expert service. Can you please upload 3 pictures to illustrate the cherry tree problems that you are concerned about? A zoomed-out picture of all 3 trees together would be good, plus a close-up up of any crown-rot symptoms you think you might be seeing, and the dying leaves. Photos would be very helpful!



Thanks for your reply. I was able to find out the variety of tree, it is a dwarf 'stella' sweet cherry tree. I've attached a few pictures. Your expertise would be appreciated.


Hello Jody,

Sorry for the slow response. I am going to hand off your question to another person who has more experience with fruit trees.


Hi Jody,

I was sure it was winter injury to 3 year-old tart cherries until I looked at the trees and realized they were sweets.3 year-old tarts are very susceptible to winter injury. Wood is killed and the trees get ‘black heart’. Still it looks a lot like winter injury, I would expect collapse of the tree and wilting of the new growth.

Take a knife cut into the bark. See if the bark is brown or the wood below it is brown. Are those new cherry leaves coming from the base of the tree?

It could also be bacteria canker but I do not see any gumming on the trees or branches.The symptoms are similar to what you have with different branches be affected differently. Are there any wounds to the trunk near the base of the affected limbs? Look at this link and look at the leaf wilt and spur collapse.

If the problem was just winter injury you can replant