Cherry tree - many leaves develop holes, go yellow, and drop :(

Asked August 13, 2020, 7:29 PM EDT

I have a gorgeous very large decorative cherry tree. Since early in the summer it began dropping leaves. It still has many, many green leaves that seem healthy, but at least an equal number have developed holes and/or gone yellow and fallen off. This is my first year in this house and first summer season so I don't know if the tree had a similar problem in the past. Around the base of the three the bush-like new growth is less affected. A couple questions: (1) Is there anything I can do to help this tree which is clearly in trouble / what might be causing the damage to the leaves? (2)Should I cut the new growth now (and in the future should I cut it sooner in the season)? Thanks in advance for any insights.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

1. This sounds like cherry shot hole fungus. It's a very common problem. Some years depending upon the weather, and some varieties of cherry, can be worse than others. Here's what you need to know:

2. The suckers you see at the base of the tree should be pruned down to base when they show up in the spring. Do this yearly. They are just draining nutrients that the tree could otherwise use.