I've been out of town for 3 weeks; I got back last night. My sour
cherry tree looked perfectly healthy when I left, but now all the leaves
are dead and brown -- except for about 10 leaves that aren't *quite*
dead yet. I looked around the base of the tree for signs of a peach
tree borer, but nothing. I also don't see any insect or mite damage to
the leaves. The ground under the tree is neither really dry nor really
wet. I don't see any twisted growth like you might find if someone
sprayed it with herbicide.
Any idea what might have caused this? Is there any hope for the tree?
that sure sounds suspicious Bob. I'd call your extension agent and have them
come out and diagnose it for you. That's what they get paid for. Look under
the government pages.............good luck, let us know what it is.
First check if the tree is truely dead, or just under a lot of stress from some
disease, or insect. Make random scrapings of the bark and check that the layer
just under it is still green (the cambium layer). If it is brown, that portion
tree is gone. If the tree shows indications of life, put in on a regular spray
schedule of fungicide and pesticide (if you haven't already done so). The tree
recover next year, so don't be in a big hurry to cut it down, unless you find it
mostly dead wood. My Montmorency had a bad spotted leaf problem last year, but
seems to have recovered this year with a fair crop of cheeries. You might try
some of the dirt from around the base of the tree to check for insect invasion.
I would not diagnose the poster as an idiot without further data.
However, his post does show considerable ignorance about the use of
pesticides (note: a fungicide is a pesticide).
When using any pesticide READ THE LABEL. The label will tell you
which pests can be controlled and how to apply the product. You will
notice that each pest so described is specific and the product should
be used only for those pests on those plants listed.
But we are ahead of ourselves. The first step is to diagnose the
pest. In this case, it sounds like a fungal infection but further
investigation is needed to confirm that.
Where are you located? Describe the dead and dieing leaves in as much
detail as possible. Any other signs that might give a clue?
I was actually thinking of painting the bark with Lindane or Dursban or
Cygon or nicotine sulfate (something that will penetrate the bark to the
cambium) in case there's an infestation of bark beetles that hasn't
I'm not going to cut the tree down until it doesn't leaf out next year.
Does the tree shade part of your neighbour's yard, or block their view,
or drop leaves into their pool, or might its roots be near their pipes
or house foundations, or taking nutrients from their garden? Are relations
with your neighbours somewhat strained?
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)
LOL. :-) those were all good questions, weren't they?
Bob, in spite of the encouragement that others have given, I would bet
the farm that your tree is dead. Both sour cherries that I have owned
over the years died in a similar way. (but not exactly) My trees went
into fall colors and dropped their leaves in August. The next spring
they were 100% dead. I had at least one plum do that too. No visible
explanation for it either.
I have also had apples leaf out and look normal in the spring then stop
growing and the leaves wilt and go brown. That happens in June or early
July. I believe with the apples it is a case of winter injury to the
trunk and/or branches. The damage seems delayed because the buds open
and only wilt after the damaged wood can't transport enough water to
keep them going. (not likely your problem) I live where it gets to 30
below nearly every year and some years to -40. Weird things happen to my
Steve in the Adirondacks
I I think I may have lost a pear tree the same way this summer. It is
in a place where it usually does not need water (base of a hill), but
we have had a drought and the lack of water seems to have killed it.
Still, I have a few leaves left, and I am watering in the hope it
makes a comeback next year. If not, I'll cut it down then. It did
alert me to the stress my other fruit trees were under, and they seem
to be doing OK now.
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