Sweet Cherries died

jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)June 3, 2013

I had a couple sweet cherries start to wilt and then completely browned up. Now they have nothing but crunchy leaves. Total time from healthy tree to complete burn down was only 10 days or so. The leaves never showed any shot holes, lesions, or spots of any kind.

The trees that died were "van" and "black tartarian". The BT had about half of the tree that didnt bud this spring. I am not sure why. Wild swings in temp for sure. We had 4 inches of snow on the first of may and 100 on may 14th.
The "sweetheart" and "bing" are only 15 ft away from the "van" and they were not affected at all.

I transplanted some vans and sweethearts, from this same orchard, to my new location, in alot drier area. About a 100 miles further south, up on a hill instead of down in the river valley where these died. None of the transplanted ones had any problem, and they were pulled out about a week before symptoms showed up on the dead ones.

Anybody ever heard of some problem that affects van and not sweetheart? It really has me stumped. Im about ready to give up on sweet cherries totally. None of them bloomed this spring, but my sour cherries have fruit growing good.

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One of my two sweet cherries died as well. What is it with these trees???

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:04PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Cherries, depending on rootstock, can be very sensitive to wet soil. Plant any new trees in the drier site.

Trees that die from drowning would behave just as you describe.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:07AM
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f...that is advice I had never heard before. I bet that could be my problem. I always am conscious to keep my babies damp after planting....not to let them dry out.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:15AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Newly planted trees need to be kept moist but not constantly wet. The big issue is from soil that has poor internal drainage, ie high water table in spring or after big rains. Mainly that's what kills fruit trees. But some people water so much that they drown the trees in soil with marginal drainage.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 11:06AM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

We had a few rains, but nothing special. I didnt water them yet this spring. The water table is high here, but like I said the sweetheart cherry only 15 ft away has no symptoms and......

I went out and looked tonight and I see there is rootstock sucker growth on the van cherry. That growth looks healthy. If it was drowned then nothing would be there.

I dont know what rootstock they came on, but I got them from Peaceful Valley, so I assume Dave Wilson nursery. Probaby Mazzard?

The good news is some of my montmorency cherry grafts took so I should have better luck next year.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Thinking F is correct. My soil is really heavy clay. Basically when planting...I end up creating a large "pot or container". There is no way around it. I throw in some gypsum. Once the tree breaks through the clay and gets established...I am good. The clay soil is a pain!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 11:50PM
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