Newbie Sour Cherry Problem

SylvilagusJune 3, 2012

Last Summer I planted a Northstar Sour Cherry from a local nursery here in Vermont. This spring the tree, which is about 4.5 feet tall, flowered beautifully, and many small cherries set. Now something seems to be wrong. Many of the smallest cherries are turning yellow/pink and seem to be dropping off or mummifying. The small leaves at the base of the stem also seem to be drying up and dying. Some of the larger green fruit have black dimpled-in areas near the stem. The leafing pattern seems odd to me as well, but then I'm new at this. We're getting healthy new growth at the ends of twigs and branches, but along the branches where last years growth was the leaves are staying very small, in small clusters. Looking around on-line I think maybe we have bacterial canker. I did notice a reddish orange gel oozing out on one spot of the trunk last summer when or shortly after I planted it. Not knowing what it was, I wiped it off. Haven't seen it since.

Any help would be appreciated with identification of the problem and treatments/management.


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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

This is hard to call without pictures. I can't tell if your tree is fundamentally healthy or not; it sounds like it is since the new growth sounds strong, but thats just a guess. If the tree is healthy overall then you probably are losing a few fruits to bugs or something - cut open the ones with black marks to look for bugs. The yellow cherries could be a young tree dropping a load that was too large for its age, but again look for bugs in those.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:44PM
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I have grown North Star cherries for many years. This year
my cherry set a light crop due to late frosts. some of the
cherries expanded to full size and some stayed small, yellowed up and dropped off a week or so ago. Perhaps your
tree did the same?

The remaining cherries I have are just getting a pink blush
so I sprayed the last time for cherry fruit fly and will net the tree asap in the next few days.

You mention a dark dimple on the fruit? I wonder if you have plum curculio or cherry fruit fly larvae in the fruit?
You did not mention if you sprayed the crop or not with insecticide this spring?

I would cut some of those fruits with the dark spots and check for laarvae from the above insects mentioned. If my
entomogy is correct, the fruit fly will only lay one egg per cherry (large white larvae) while the curculio can have
multiple larvae per fruit.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 12:17PM
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I'd like to post photos but it doesn't seem to give methe option. Don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'll have to check the FAQ and instructions more closely. Thought I was doping it correctly.

I'll also check for insect larva in the fruit with black areas. The possibility too that the yellow/pink fruit are just a heavy drop because the plant is to young to support them seems plausible to me. I was surprised at how many fruit it produced this first year.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Not sure where in Vt you are, but up here in the north central area PC pressure this year is intense.

Then we have all the weird weather: early warmth, then "late" freeze, more intense warmth...then cold and very wet....lots of places there to stress a tree and cause fruit to abort.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:13AM
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