Cherry Trees

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PRUNE: When completely dormant in December or January, remove about 10% of current season’s growth. To identify fruiting wood, see our Fruit Tree Pruning Information Sheet.

SPRAY: Dormant spray in December or January after pruning with Master Nursery Pest-Fighter Year-Round Spray Oil and Liqui-Cop. Use 4 Tablespoons of Liquid-Cop mixed with 6 Tablespoons of oil in one gallon of water.

Always check with you nursery professional to properly diagnose problems before undertaking additional sprays.

brown rotblossom blight 2shot hole fungus cherryShot Hole and Brown Rot Blossom Blight:

  • Spray: Spray tree again with Liquid-Cop, or Ortho Garden Disease Control or Bonide Fung-onil at pink bud and again at full bloom stage. Do not spray once trees are in leaf.
  • Pruning: Prune to allow good ventilation. In August or September, remove infected twigs, fruiting woods and branches.
  • Sanitation: Remove and destroy infected buds and blossoms during bloom, Remove and destroy maturing fruit when symptoms appear. In August or September, remove and destroy mummies and fallen fruit.
  • Irrigation Methods: Use basin or drip irrigation to avoid wetting blossoms, foliage and fruit.

bacterial cankerGummosis/Bacterial Blight:

  • Spray: Spray with Liquid-Cop in spring when leaf buds are swollen and ready to unfold, but before leaves emerge.
  • Soil Preparation: Avoid planting trees in shallow soils. Break through hardpan thoroughly when preparing soil for planting.
  • Pruning: Prune out infected branches in August or September. Eliminate cankers by pruning into healthy wood a few inches below the canker.
  • Irrigation Methods: Use basin or drip irrigation to avoid wetting blossoms, foliage and fruit.
  • Fertilization: Fertilize as described below.

spotted wing fruit flySpotted Wing Fruit Fly:

  • Tiny fly (1/4” to 1/2”) lays eggs under skin of fruit as it is turning from yellow to pink.
  • Eggs hatch and maggots turn fruit dark and mushy.
  • Spray with Malathion or Spinosad when fruit is starting to turn from yellow to pink (Malathion once and Spinosad 3 times one week apart).
  • Gather mushy fruit and dispose of it. Do not compost.

FERTILIZE: Use Master Nursery Fruit Tree & Vine Food twice a year: around Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you prefer organic fertilizers, use Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer two to three weeks earlier. Water in immediately after application. Supplement organic fertilizers with Iron Sulfate to prevent chlorosis.

WATER: Plant cherries in well-drained soils away from lawns. Excessive water or poorly drained soils increase the incidence of root and crown rots, to which cherries are prone. Keep trunk and soil at the base of the tree dry during irrigation. At planting, construct a soil berm at the dripline of the tree. As the tree matures, extend the berm to the span of the dripline. Flood weekly during the first year and then at 2 to 4 week intervals when the tree is mature. If a drip system is used, place hosing along the tree’s dripline with emitters on 12 to16 inch centers. This system will also need to be adjusted as the dripline expands. Do not use sprinklers to irrigate cherry trees.

bacterial cankerOTHER COMMENTS: Many cherries are not self-fruitful and require a pollenizer to ensure good crops. Check with one of Wegman’s staff to determine your needs.

Watch for gummosis (amber-colored gum on branches and stems) and borer damage, which will cause gummosis near the base of the trunk at the graft union. Bring several leaf and twig samples to Wegman’s Nursery for evaluation whenever these or other symptoms appear.

Cherry trees sunburn easily. Apply a one to one mixture of white interior latex paint and water to prevent sunburn injury and reduce borer infestations. Apply the paint mixture from 2 inches below the soil surface to 3 feet above or to the lowermost scaffold branches.

Adapted from Ogawa and English (1991), Diseases of Temperate Zone Tree Fruit & Nut Crops, UC Extension Publication 3345 and Flint (1998), Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, 2nd Ed., UC Extension Publication 3332.