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Cherry Trees

Q.Cherry tree wilted

Zone 27527 Zone 8 | wvanek added on July 25, 2018 | Answered

I planted to Kwaanza cherries within 15′ of each other, along with a weeping cherry, 4 years ago. They all have been healthy, and growing as much as 3′ per year. This Spring, right after blooming, the tallest/best tree looked different. I noticed that all of its interior leaves were gone; its only leaves were on the most remote third of every branch. I figured that some critter was eating the leaves, although I didn’t see any partially eaten leaves. I quickly got out my Sevin and sprayed all three trees, just in case it was insects. The sick tree responded by having all its leaves wilt, but stay green. Rains had been perfect, so I knew that it was not a water problem; even so, I mixed up a bucket of Miracle Grow and watered it. As the weather dried out more, I made sure that I watered all three trees. But the wilted leaves turned brown about a week later. The tree looks totally dead. It is on the extreme left side of the photo; it’s sister tree is just to the right (in the distance), and the weeping cherry is in the foreground of those two trees, near the path. I’ve also seen two more healthy cherries in my neighborhood–both of the same age as mine–turn brown shortly after mine did. I saw no cankers, no spots, no bugs–nothing but perfect leaves that first disappeared, then wilted, then turned brown and dried up, dead. My other cherries are perfect.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 28, 2018

This is interesting. If there are other cherries in other areas also being affected, then I would have to guess that a fungus or bacteria has infected the area. If there has been more rain than usual, and overly wet, then this would further my suspicion.

I would recommend using wettable sulfur and dolomitic lime around each tree out to about 3 or 4 feet from the trunk. This will take care of things pretty quickly, as long as the infection is not too far progressed.

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