Sweet Cherry Tree Problems

hoosier318May 29, 2014

I have a question for this format about my Sweet Cherry
Trees. Here's the problem I have 4 sweet cherry Trees here in Northern Indiana. I have a Lapins, a Windsor, and 2 Rainers. Last year was the first year that I actually picked enough cherries to eat. The previous year I had a ton of blooms, but lost all of them due to a frost, that was in 2012, and we all knew the story there if you lived in Michigan or Indiana-a fast warm up then a hard freeze. This year I was looking for a bigger crop, but again we know how hard the winter was-hard on plants, trees, and humans alike. Seems like my sour cherry trees and the apple trees fared fine though. The problems are with my sweet cherry trees, it seems so far no blooms, and I have lost foliage big time especially on the Lapins. I will attach pictures the smallest tree is the Lapins and is the worst hit, one of the Rainers is also bad with the other fairing a little better, and the Windsor is the next biggest and doesn't seem quite as bad either. One of the Rainer's it looks as though some of the leaves are rolling up and possibly that is what caused the loss of leaves on the other. Any ideas do they need to be fertilized or are they lacking something, is it pests, diseases, or just the rough winter? I want to do whatever I can to help them out. Thanks in advance for any help or ideas.

Kevin

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hoosier318

OK couldn't get all my files/pictures on the original message so here's some more. This is the one of the two Rainer's that has lost about 2/3's of its leaves. The other Rainer is behind it and fairing a little better and out of the 4 the Windsor is doing the best! The first one was the Lapins in the original message it has lost about 90% of its leaves.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 4:29PM
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hoosier318

Here is a close-up of the leaf curling I was talking about.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 4:31PM
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ltilton

Have you uncurled the leaves to check for aphids?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:11PM
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johnnysapples

I have five cherry trees here in Michigan. None of them had flowers. I didn't get die back like you did on the cherries, but I did on apples, plum, peaches, and ornamentals. I have fire blight this year, and I never had it before. It's on my apple trees. I would cut all the dead wood out. You should cut 1/4 of all the new branch tips back to remove all tight buds or buds that are close together at the ends of last years growth. It will give you more cherries next year by strengthening the evenly spaced buds on the remaining 3/4. It will make better fruiting spurs for fruit next year. That goes for all sweet cherry trees. Remove all weak wood and branches that go downward. I would give it a little fertilizer if last years growth was less than two foot. Water when dry. When possible always prune to an outward bud. Watch the how to prune a cherry tree videos on u tube.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:18PM
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johnnysapples

Look under that leaf you might have aphids.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:21PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The damage I think is from winter injury. Aphids could be causing the curl, attacking weak growth. Any branches with weak growth may not recover. With no growth are probably dead. Two of my trees had winter damage a peach and a plum. My other peaches and a pluot tree are fine.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:04PM
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hoosier318

Thanks so much for the insight I knew I could rely on gardenweb for help. I will check for aphids ltilton, Johnnysapples, and Drew51, if so should I go ahead and spray now? If so any recommendations on the spray? I pruned sweet cherries two years ago in February when the trees were dormant. Should I wait until then to prune again? It makes me so sad as sweet cherries are my favorite of all. I have worked so hard to get them where they are at. Like I said the first heart ache was two years ago when they were loaded with blooms and then the hard frost. At least last year I was able to enjoy a few sweet cherries off of them. The Rainer's are 9 years old, the Windsor is 8, and the Lapins 7. Johnnysapples surprisingly my apples (Fuji, Pink Sugar, Florina, and Mutsu) and sour cherries (Montmorency and North Star) look great.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:18PM
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hoosier318

Done some research on aphids and then went out to check the leaf curls. Just like the research said there were tiny black specks of bugs, the leaf was sticky, and another sign it said to look for, and that was ants and yes they were crawling in among the leaves!! So I am assuming that you were correct, the culprits are aphids.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:43PM
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johnnysapples

A good solution to aphids and ants is tangle foot. Search u tube to figure out how to apply it. I use it and the lady bugs eat the aphids. I would remove or spray insecticidal soap on the curled leaves.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 2:06PM
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ltilton

Yes, insecticidal soap will take care of the aphids.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 2:13PM
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hoosier318

Thanks Jonnysapples and ltitlon, I did exactly that as far as applying insecticidal soap, I appreciate the help and insight you guys were great!! One other question in reference to a comment about pruning dead wood off the trees. When should that take place and how aggressive should I be? Also should I fertilize the sweet cherry trees to bring them back into shape the following year? I think the aphid problem should be take care of although I will keep an eye out. Also should I also apply the insecticidal soap to my other fruit trees just to be safe?? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 8:35AM
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johnnysapples

cut all the dead wood out now to your lowest living bud. I put tangle foot on landscaping tape about two foot up on the trunk. That will keep the ants of the tree if there isn't any bridges like twine to steaks or other tree branches or such. The ants are protectors to the aphids because they like to eat the aphid honey doo. Without ants the ladybugs will eat them, and so will other good bugs. You need to figure out what kind of spray program you need. You should be spraying for fungus and bacterial canker at least a couple times a year. Best when applied right away after wet periods. Bacterial canker thrives in the warm moisture. You may have it already and that will cause die off on top too. look for split trunks and branches that have cracks. It might just be areas that look like sap is oozing out like bores. Fruit trees need to be taken care of in every season. I would mix up some water salable fertilizer and feed it now, but don't over feed it. Then mix in some 12 12 12 into the drip line of the trees on the ground. You need to get all that grass away from the drip lines and put some good mulch down. Mix the fertilizer into the mulch. Look up how to fertilize fruit trees on u tube. There is a formula that goes by trunk thickness. You know if your trees need to be fertilized by how long last years growth is. That's in those videos too. I watched every video I could find to figure out how to take care of my trees plus reading this forum. Its so much easier to watch someone.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:17AM
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