Cherry trees (Prunus spp.) are fascinating and rewarding to grow, but the unfortunate thing about them is that they are very susceptible to various plant diseases. These diseases, however, do not hide, as they are evident and easy to detect.
If you own a cherry tree, you should not allow its numerous afflictions overbear it to death; instead, you should learn how to save a dying cherry tree so that when it becomes infected, you can handle it and bring it back to life.
Signs of a Dying Cherry Tree
The following are common diseases of a cherry tree and their common signs and symptoms that would help you correctly identify any of them, should they plague your cherry tree.
Frost damage happens to cherry trees during an extended period of intense cold weather. Frost damage causes the outer foliage of cherry trees to turn brown and begin to fall. Frost damage also causes cherry fruits to drop and dieback to occur.
Frost damage is often prevented by growing the cherry trees species that are suitable for your hardiness zone. This practice often does not prevent frost damage from occurring as it goes ahead to affect any cherry tree it chooses to affect indiscriminately.
Canker sores appear as sunken lesions on the stems of cherry trees. These lesions are filled with necrotic tissues, and infected areas seep off the sappy resin.
A cherry tree that is infected with canker sores has its foliage wilted, brown, and falling. Severe infestation of a cherry tree by canker sore can kill the tree branches, cause the tree to girdle, and cause a severe threat to the cherry tree's life.
Canker sores are caused by fungus and have no available chemical cure or control.
Cherry leaf spot is a fungal disease that is caused by the fungus 'Coccomyces hiemalis.' Cherry leaf spot affects the cherry tree's stems, foliage, and fruits. It causes the leaves to turn brown and fall off.
Brown rot is a deadly fungal disease that attacks cherry trees and other fruit trees. It causes the tree blossoms to die, its leaves to turn brown and sunken lesions to appear on the twigs. These infected twigs and dead flowers ooze off the sappy substance, and gray spores form on the dead blooms and cankers.
Brown rot can also cause fruits to develop brownish spots that expand and cover the whole fruit surface. It can cause branches to die back in extreme conditions.
How to Save a Dying Cherry Tree
The following are ways through which you can prevent cherry tree diseases and save a dying cherry tree.
To prevent cherry trees from contracting frost damage, it is advised that you should wrap the cherry tree trunk using a tree wrap. You can also provide sufficient moisture to the cherry tree by adding an adequate amount of mulch layer around the tree.
Alternatively, you can provide heat to the cherry tree by hanging Christmas lights to the tree during times of frost. The heat produced helps prevent frost damage.
To prevent brown rot diseases for a cherry tree, you can apply copper fungicides to the tree, especially if it has been previously infected by brown rot.
Another way of controlling brown rot on cherry trees is by adequately irrigating the tree at its base rather than overhead, cutting off overcrowded canopies, and planting resistant varieties.
To prevent cherry leafspot, you should always carry out proper sanitation practices such as taking away debris underneath the cherry tree and applying fungicides.
Canker sore on a cherry tree is prevented by properly caring for the tree and carrying out good sanitation practices. Canker sores on cherry trees do not have any known cure. Once a cherry tree has been infected by it, there is little to nothing that can be done to revive the tree.
Also, apply fungicides to the tree three times in a year, the first being at spring, the second before flowering, and finally after flowering.
Saving a dying cherry tree is dependent on the infection the tree is down with. Some of the common diseases of cherry trees are both preventable and curable, while some canker sores are not curable.
The best bet to save a cherry tree from dying is to go the preventive way. Prevention is better than cure is right for the cherry tree due to its vulnerability to these diseases.
If you want a healthy cherry tree all year round, ensure you stick to providing it the optimum growing condition it requires at all times and in all weathers and season.