Ornamental cherry are a popular addition to gardens in the DC Metro area. However, there are some cherry tree diseases you should know about if you want to keep your prized trees healthy and beautiful. We’re here to help you identify and manage these diseases before they cause irreparable damage.
Cankers are typically found on the trunk or branches, and are caused by fungal (and sometimes bacterial) infection. Ornamental cherry trees that have bark damage, cracks, wounds, frost damage, or are living in drought conditions are more susceptible to cankers. The infected cells die, the area turns dark brown or black, and an oozy-looking spot forms. If you notice cankers on your tree’s limbs, it’s best to have professionals prune the affected limbs immediately. Prevention is key! RTEC offers a preventative canker program, along with Bio-Stimulants which help keep your tree healthy and stress-free.
Black knot is another fungal disease that affects cherry trees during the spring. It appears as a dark, swollen growth that causes deep indentations in the bark. Over time, these growths become black and leathery, and the tree branches become stunted and may eventually die. The best way to prevent black knot from spreading is to prune off affected areas of the tree. A preventative treatment can ward off this fungus before it causes damage to your trees.
This is one of the most common issues we see and treat for in the DC area. Leaf spot is a fungal disease that manifests as small, dark spots that grow larger over time, causing the leaves to yellow and fall off. Sometimes, the dark spots turn into holes in the leaves. We recommend treating for leaf spot preventatively, through our fungal treatment regimen, which is most effective in the spring.
Necrotic Ring Spot
Necrotic ring spot is a viral disease that affects the foliage of cherry trees. Symptoms to look out for include: trees not leafing out in a timely manner in spring, small leaves, dark rings and/or lines on leaves, dieback in the crown, and in severe cases, splitting bark. The only course of action when cherry trees have necrotic ring spot is to remove them to avoid the spread of this disease to other susceptible trees.
Protecting your cherry tree from diseases requires attention to detail and prompt action. This is why we recommend having an expert care for your trees, so you don’t have to constantly monitor your yard for signs of disease. Our Canopy Protection Program ensures that an expert is on your property on a regular basis. During these visits, our Environmental Specialists look for diseases like the ones listed above. If you see any symptoms listed in this article, be sure to reach out to us for identification, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations.