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What happened to my Cherry Tree?
Old 10-18-2008, 11:07 AM   #1
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What happened to my Cherry Tree?

Have 2 dwarf cherry trees, about 15+ years old, each about 10' tall, 15 feet apart. Usually have cherries every year depending on the late frosts. This year--mucho cherries on both trees. About a month after we'd harvested all the cherries (end of June), the leaves on one of the trees all turned brown and fell off. Relatives thought it might be some kind of blight. Anyway, was doing my fall pruning, and the tree is definitely dead. Both get good sun, I'm located in Indianapolis and rain has been good, the remaining tree still has green leaves and grass is green too. Don't use chemicals except for some spray bug killer now and then, and didn't even use that this year as ants haven't been too bad. What happened to my tree??:confused:

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Old 10-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #2
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Strange. The fruit tree diseases that I know about would not kill the tree in one season. Fungal diseases are not going to kill the tree in a season, if ever. It sort of sounds like bacterial canker, which can cause early leaf drop. Even though you pruned, are you sure all the branches are dead? Were there "sores" on the wood? Any gumminess? Any prior year symptoms?

Here is some info on cherry tree diseases: Index of Fruit Disease Photographs



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Old 10-18-2008, 08:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Payin-the-Toll View Post
What happened to my tree??:confused:
I recommend that you contact your county extension office, and they should be able to assist you or point you to someone who can. I'm a frequent visitor to our local county extension office here, both for questions & advice, and also for hort related classes. The folks are very knowledgeable, and have some of the best contacts available to people who are specialists in their given field, i.e.- trees, flowering plants, vegetable plants, grasses (turf & ornamental), food, health, etc. They're funded by your tax $$, so most of their services are free of additional cost to you.

BTW, one of my neighbors down the street had the same thing happen to his crabapple tree last year. It flowered, fruited, then immediately dropped it's leaves and died. I don't know the cause, nor does he, and he didn't contact anyone to find out what may have been the cause.

Some trees in that genus (prunus) do tend to be short lived, so it's possible that it had just fulfilled it's life. Even if that may be the case, I'd still contact your extension office.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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Ditto the extension service advice.
I had a similar thing happen to a big cottonwood tree on the edge of my property in my front yard. In my case the extension service guy said there was no way to tell, but likely the neighbor (a young mechanic with all sorts of projects going on with heavy equipment, old trucks, etc) dumped used oil at the base of it.
This was many years ago before Anchorage had a place to deposit waste oil for free. I even saw people dumping waste oil down the street drain.
Likely it's something else with your tree, I hope.
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