Help! Is this the cherry shot hole?

Asked July 7, 2020, 8:20 PM EDT

Looking for a diagnosis to my sick new this spring cherry tree. It’s just a young thing. How can I help it survive rainy season, if that’s the issue?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

This does not look like a disease. Based on the photos we think this looks like a type of insect feeding by some type of beetle, possible Japanese beetles. Here is our website and what they look like. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/japanese-beetles

Controlling adult Japanese beetles is difficult when populations are high. They feed on at least 275 different plant species and will fly in from neighboring areas if you have plants that are especially attractive such as plants in the rose family. The least toxic control is going out in the morning or early evening and knocking or sweeping the adults from trees, shrubs, and garden plants into a bucket of soapy water. The plant may tolerate some minor feeding.
There are no preventative sprays. Insecticides provide only temporary relief when populations are heavy. Some organic sprays contain the active ingredients neem, pyrethrins (harmful to bees), or spinosad (harmful to bees when wet but has little effect when sprays dry).
If you decide to spray, follow all label directions and avoid treating plants when pollinators are present.

It is also possible that there may be other leaf feeding beetles that feed at night. You may have to go out at night and look with your flashlight. Drop the beetles into a bucket of soapy water.

It may be helpful to send us photos of the new tree and how old it is. Send photos of the whole tree, around the base of the tree, and affected foliage so we can see what you may be dealing with.

Make sure the tree is not planted too deeply, mulch is no thicker than several inches and away from the base of the trunk.
Check the soil moisture about once a week or more for new new plants especially during dry periods. Water deeply if needed. Move the mulch aside and check the soil moisture by probing with a screwdriver about 6 inches deep and feel with your finger. Soil should be damp to the touch. Let the soil dry before watering again. See watering guidelines https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/watering-trees-and-shrubs

Here is more information about the planting process, our video, and post planting care https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/planting-tree-or-shrub

Marian