Cherry Tree Diseases

Cherry tree diseases can ruin a wonderful specimen tree in short order if not properly treated. Although cherry trees create beautiful floral displays in spring and wonderful fruit in summer, these trees are very susceptible to fungal and bacterial attacks.

Identifying Cherry Tree Diseases

Cherry trees are susceptible to many of the infections and diseases common to flowering trees. Careful monitoring and quick action will help keep your cherry tree healthy and productive. Here's what to look out for:

  • Bacterial Canker - Caused by two related bacteria, cankers appear as dark depressions in branches or trunks that ooze a gummy substance. Bacterial Canker may also appear as black depressions on the skin of fruit. Infected limbs should be removed in late winter or early spring. Treating your cherry tree with a copper sulfate based fungicide will help treat the infection but may damage fruit.
  • Black Knot - Black knot fungus affects twigs, small limbs and fruit spurs. Infections typically appear on the youngest growth first and present as light brown swellings in bark and wood tissue-these swellings will rupture as they enlarge. Remove infected plant material promptly and be sure to sanitize pruning tools after use.
  • Cherry Leaf Spot - This fungal infection focuses on leaves but may move on to twigs and limbs. Cherry leaf spot appears as dark colored spots on leaves. Leaves may turn yellow while the area around the spots stays green. Treat cherry leaf spot with a fungicide and rake and destroy fallen leaves or they will re-infect the tree with fungal spores.
  • Powdery Mildew - Often seen in warm, humid conditions, powdery mildew will show as white patches on young leaves. Fungicides are an effective countermeasure, but properly pruning your cherry tree to allow for light penetration and air circulation is the best preventative.
  • Silver Leaf - A fungal disease that appears as a silver patina on infected foliage. Silver leaf may sometimes appear as twig and branch dieback. Infected areas of your cherry tree should be removed promptly as there are no chemical controls available to fight silver leaf.
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