Cherry Tree Diseases: Tips On Treating Cherry Diseases

by johnah on November 5, 2020

Cherry Trees are one of the most popular trees in Japan. They have been cultivated since ancient times. Today they are still grown for their beauty and ornamental value. There are many varieties of cherry trees, but all share similar characteristics such as being large, heavy, with round or oval shaped fruits and having small greenish red spots on them (Figures 1 & 2).


1. A typical Japanese cherry tree.


2. A typical American cherry tree.

The most common symptoms of Cherry Tree Disease include:

1) Fruits becoming discolored and falling off; 2) Leaves turning brown in winter; 3) Fruit not developing properly after ripening; 4) Small fruit drop during the season, which causes the tree to lose its attractiveness to pollinators and other animals.

In addition to these symptoms, there may be other problems such as:

1) The tree becomes weak and dies; 2) The tree is damaged and cannot bear fruit anymore; 3) The tree does not produce any fruit at all.

What Are Some Ways To Prevent Cherry Tree Disease?

There are several ways to prevent Cherry Tree Disease. One way is through proper care of the plant, another is through good husbandry practices.

Cherry Tree Care and Management:

The tree should be kept well pruned and have a deep layer of organic mulch. All the dead branches should be trimmed off and all the dead leaves cleared away. The soil should also be kept moist throughout the year to keep the tree hydrated, but not wet as this can cause fungal diseases.

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Mulching: The mulch should be applied in such a way that it covers the entire root area. This layer should be maintained between 3 and 5 inches deep. Apply fresh mulch every year, or more frequently if you see that it has become very dry.

You can use hay, straw, and leaf mold as mulches. Stomp on the mulch layer several times to ensure good contact with the root zone.

Watering: However, it is very important not to keep the soil or mulch damp as this will increase the chances of fungal attack. Soil should be kept moist, but not wet.

Cherry Tree Pollination: If cross-pollination is not possible, then hand pollination can be done. The flower has to be hand-pollinated within 24 hours of its peak bloom time. The male part of the flower is called the stamen and the female part is called the pistil.

To cross-pollinate, take a small paint brush and pick up the pollen from the stamen of one flower and gently touch the pistil of another flower. Use this method for all the flowers in that particular tree. The best time to do this is just before the peak bloom time.

What Are Some Major Diseases That Attack Cherry Trees?

There are several diseases that attack cherry trees, and these are:

Coryneum Blight: In this disease, the leaves become spotted and develop a gray moldy appearance. These leaves then turn yellow and fall off. The fruit also becomes spotted and then drops off early without ripening.

The disease spreads very rapidly in wet weather.

Bacterial Canker: This disease manifests as sunken areas of the bark that have a grayish color. The sunken patches spread and girdle the tree, which leads to the death of the branches. The disease can be identified by cutting a slit on the bark and looking for a pinkish colored liquid.

Fungal Leaf Scorch: This disease manifests in brown leaf spots which later grow together to form large areas of dead tissue. These areas then drop off, causing a loss of leaves. The disease is more commonly found in hot dry weather.

Fire Blight: This disease attacks the flowers and young stem of the tree. It appears as an odd colored swelling at the base of the flower. It spreads to other flowers and then to the twigs causing them to die back.

The affected twigs then wither and turn black. The disease can easily spread to nearby plants.

How Do I Prevent Diseases From Attacking My Tree?

There are several practices that can be followed to prevent diseases from spreading in your trees. One of the most important practices is to plant the trees far enough away from each other so that they do not compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients.

It is also very important to keep the area around the tree free of any debris such as leaves, grass, and weeds. This is because the fallen leaves around the base of the tree serve as a breeding ground for several insects that can damage the tree. It is also important to water the trees at their root zone and not on the upper layers of the soil, as this can increase the chances of fungal growth.

Cherry Tree Diseases: Tips On Treating Cherry Diseases |

Pruning: In addition, regular pruning helps in giving enough air circulation within the canopy and also helps in controlling the growth of the tree.

Watering: In addition to the above, it is important to water the tree at its root zone and not on the upper layers of soil, as this can lead to an increase in fungal growth.

What Are Some Common Pests And How Do I Get Rid Of Them?

There are several pests that attack and damage trees and one of the most common is the tent caterpillar. They usually appear in April and May and can destroy almost an entire tree overnight. They are usually grayish in color and have a white stripe running lengthwise down their bodies. They also have dark colored spots on their sides. The eggs are laid in clusters of around 40-50 and are pale green in color.

How Do I Identify Tent Caterpillar Damage?

Tent caterpillar damage usually manifests as leaves that are completely eaten away. The leaf edges show telltale signs of being chewed upon, and the centers of the leaves are missing. They also leave behind a silken thread that can stretch between the trees.

What Should I Do If Tent Caterpillars Attack My Trees?

If your trees are attacked by tent caterpillars, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible. You should look for any of their eggs and destroy them as these will hatch and produce more caterpillars. The caterpillars themselves can be picked off the tree and destroyed.

Sources & references used in this article:

Effects of pre-and post-harvest application of salicylic acid or methyl jasmonate on inducing disease resistance of sweet cherry fruit in storage by H Yao, S Tian – Postharvest Biology and Technology, 2005 – Elsevier

Controlling replant diseases of pome and stone fruits in northeastern United States by preplant fumigation by GS Abawi – Plant Disease, 1981 –

SWORD’98: surveillance of work-related and occupational respiratory disease in the UK by JD Meyer, DL Holt, NM Cherry… – Occupational …, 1999 –

16 Viruses, Viroids, Phytoplasmas and Genetic Disorders of Cherry by D James, M Cieslinska, V Pallás, R Flores… – Cherries: Botany …, 2017 –

Integrated control of brown rot of sweet cherry fruit with a preharvest fungicide, a postharvest yeast, modified atmosphere packaging, and cold storage temperature by RA Spotts, LA Cervantes, TJ Facteau – Postharvest Biology and Technology, 2002 – Elsevier



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