Wilted cherry tree

Asked June 10, 2019, 9:46 PM EDT

Hi, I planted a cherry tree in my backyard on 04/08/19 and watered it about once a week (unless there was significant rain that week) but starting last week its leaves started wilting (see pictures below). I amended the soil with 1/2 compost and 1/2 native soil, added Espoma BioTone per the bag's instructions. Can you tell what is wrong with it and how to improve its condition? Thanks in advance, regards,

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

When a tree starts to decline within the first year of planting it is usually a lack of establishment. This is not a disease or insect issue.

We could not see around the base of the trunk. Some reasons for decline include planting too deeply; poor drainage; were the roots teased apart so they could grow into the native soil; if you added a lot of organic matter into the planting hole you may have created a bathtub effect as water sits in the planting hole and drowns the tree. Take a look at our website for the planting process, video (explains the process), and aftercare. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/planting-process

At this point make sure it is not planted too deeply. You should be able to see the flare of the trunk where it joins the root system. If planted too deep, you may be able to lift and replant. Tease out the roots if growing in a circle within the container.
Plant the tree with the top of the root ball slightly above the existing soil line. This is helpful when planting in heavy clay soils that drain poorly.
Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Do not overwater. Check the soil moisture once a week. Soil should be damp like a wrung out sponge.

See our publication on these types of problems. Monitor the health of the tree and you can send us more photos if you notice additional symptoms. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/TreesandShrubs...