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What's wrong with my cherry tree?
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MNtransplant
La Center, WA
12 Posts
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1
March 14, 2020 - 7:05 pm

Cherry_1_2020_web.jpgCherry_2_2020_web.jpgCherry_3_2020_web.jpg

I just posted about my honeycrisp apple trees, but my combination cherry tree also has something wrong. 

This tree was planted Feb. 2015, and purchased bare root from Costco. It is semidwarf, and the rootstock was not labelled.  I sprayed with horticultural oil in March 2019 and March 2020. The bark on the tree branches looks fine, but the trunk of the tree has significant bark splitting issues.  There is some oozing during the summer as well.  The tree produced some, but not a lot, of cherries on two of its branches, both in 2018 and 2019, one variety which was Rainier, the other I'm not sure about.  The purchase tag on the tree stated there were three or more varieties grafted, "and may include Bing, Sweetheart, Rainier, Lapin and Blackgold."

Is it bacterial, fungal, sunburn...something else?  More importantly, is there anything I can do to save my tree? 

 

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Clarice

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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March 14, 2020 - 8:56 pm

Most likely bacterial canker for sure. My best sweet cherry is 'burlat' which responds very well to disease pressure in this area. I can also see problems associated with having cherry trees with too many grafts on and also too much mid-day sunshine verses the ratio of being watered. 

Even if you used the proper spraying routines, sprays are only of value when the underlying condition (per the above) are met. Also I am not sure where you found oils would work on these cases, but I guess that's why your here, but they won't work for this bacterial gummosis.

I am still learning too so nobody's perfect.

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MNtransplant
La Center, WA
12 Posts
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March 16, 2020 - 9:41 am

 

Rooney said
Most likely bacterial canker for sure. My best sweet cherry is 'burlat' which responds very well to disease pressure in this area. I can also see problems associated with having cherry trees with too many grafts on and also too much mid-day sunshine verses the ratio of being watered. 

Even if you used the proper spraying routines, sprays are only of value when the underlying condition (per the above) are met. Also I am not sure where you found oils would work on these cases, but I guess that's why your here, but they won't work for this bacterial gummosis.

I am still learning too so nobody's perfect.  

Thank you Rooney, for your response.  Regarding the horticultural oil spray, my aim was to hopefully eliminate any bugs/eggs that may have taken up residence within the split bark.  If your diagnosis is bacterial canker, my best option is to cut the tree down, correct?  Is a sulphur application worth trying?  

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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March 16, 2020 - 12:07 pm

You bring up some good points that make me think a bit deeper. Then lets start with a better diagnosis first. So -had you cut any branches away to expose too much sun to the trunk or done any landscaping recently that might have cut roots? If the answer is yes, then I suggest that the tree is recoverable and you can use this start of a dry period to cut away the active bacteria that is bruising the trunk. For these picture helps (if they help) go to the following link.

https://pnwhandbooks.org/plant.....ial-canker

There are other web sites by OSU that give pictures of the bacteria effecting twigs after rain and after weather cools in the fall of which we are wanting to see which cultivars are more well suited. The worst of which could be removed in favor of the more suited cultivars. Because young cherry trees do go through a difficult first few years with this kind of thing. Well watering in the dry of summers will do more to bring cherry past this familiar battle than any spray program will. And the proper more resilent choice of cultivars always also are better than any spray program. All these online recommendations are for commercial acres of trees and have never been proven in these yard situations. 

I have some of this as seen in your pictures and the link pictures above now in my old burlat cherry now that I excavated and tore away a side root. I also accidentally removed a sunward branch that caused shock to the trunk exposure. Mine looks worse than yours now but the cultivar will survive with more mid-summer water and because the cultivar is strong. I have never sprayed any cherry trees I have.

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MNtransplant
La Center, WA
12 Posts
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March 17, 2020 - 10:15 am

Rooney said
You bring up some good points that make me think a bit deeper. Then lets start with a better diagnosis first. So -had you cut any branches away to expose too much sun to the trunk or done any landscaping recently that might have cut roots? If the answer is yes, then I suggest that the tree is recoverable and you can use this start of a dry period to cut away the active bacteria that is bruising the trunk. For these picture helps (if they help) go to the following link.

https://pnwhandbooks.org/plant.....ial-canker

There are other web sites by OSU that give pictures of the bacteria effecting twigs after rain and after weather cools in the fall of which we are wanting to see which cultivars are more well suited. The worst of which could be removed in favor of the more suited cultivars. Because young cherry trees do go through a difficult first few years with this kind of thing. Well watering in the dry of summers will do more to bring cherry past this familiar battle than any spray program will. And the proper more resilent choice of cultivars always also are better than any spray program. All these online recommendations are for commercial acres of trees and have never been proven in these yard situations. 

I have some of this as seen in your pictures and the link pictures above now in my old burlat cherry now that I excavated and tore away a side root. I also accidentally removed a sunward branch that caused shock to the trunk exposure. Mine looks worse than yours now but the cultivar will survive with more mid-summer water and because the cultivar is strong. I have never sprayed any cherry trees I have.  

The trees has had very minimal pruning, and no landscaping anywhere nearby to disturb the roots.  In the summer, the tree receives full sun about 9 am to 5 pm, estimated, then some dappled shade before moving to full shade.  Since the damage in my tree is on the main trunk, I can't really prune the damage out.  I water the tree every week; I water with a 5-gallon bucket with a small hole drilled in the bottom, so the water drains out slowly.  During really hot summer weeks, I'll water twice.  I move the bucket to a different sides of the tree each time, and when I remember, I'll move the bucket after it has drained halfway. Based on what  you said, Rooney,  this is probably not enough water for cherry tree roots since the entire root system does not get watered every time.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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March 17, 2020 - 4:11 pm

My experience with my 'blackgold' sweet cherry /gisela-5 dwarfing stock from Raintree went the same way. The years with more summer water the better it would be year over year. You can't really say it's bacterial gummosis because then your not paying attention to the real issues of hydraulic failure of the vessels during hot weather. It took many years of doing what you are to finally get my tree back into order. Some years in the fall when I could tell I was about to lose it then I would resort to removing all the verticle growth of the central leader so that I could shelter winter rains away from the remaining branches. It clung onto life without any spraying. It was just a matter of time for the tree to rebuild into the nearby 20 year old compost pile that was next or near to it. I gave up on using a shelter ever 2nd year so I rebuilt the central leader with a roadside cross of a sweet cherry x the wild bitter cherry, and at which point I was aiming at shading the suseptable branches from the harming summer suns detrimental effects.

At this time the whole tree is very healthy due to a more disease resistant hybrid than what the blackgold was. The blackgold is still there as an interstock with very small branches that are still alive. But you can't ask me what's going on inside, this is still mostly lots of guessing for the experts.

The idea that I have on removing the most suseptable cultivars you have in favor of the resilent seems to sort of stem from many other places such that multigrafted trees with several cultivars grafted at once on the same tree is too.much for the immune system of the tree to figure out. Each different branch are more hypersensitive to a particular pathogen then others others are for one particular pathogen. 

OSU continues to show publications if sweet cherry sensitivity as while young they adjust the proper immunity. Up north in disasterously cold climates the old scientist (now dead) would refer to the impossibility of growing any fruit tree say in Idaho for a year and then transfer it to Alaska's shorter and then followed by cold season. They need time to think what to do even if it is in our case a single graft that is slightly confusing.

You could always try copper sprays in lieu of a shelter against bacterial gummosis. In dryer areas you can also remove the bruising followed up by sterilizing. I haven't. I have probably had to do extreme things in the past and have not so I lost my first sweet cherry from raintree 'angela' /gisela-5, though the rootstock came up and I toy graft to those. I have had the same wild hybrid fruit well on it only to have people walk by and grab the braches and destroying the graft.

If it's not birds it's people, but I still get my cherries by netting.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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7
March 17, 2020 - 5:33 pm

Here are the few examples [3] of many years involment in of the trial and errors of my last post that I just photographed:

eBurlat.jpg
surviving 'Burlat'
BLKgold.jpg
surviving 'Blackgold"
oldAngela.jpg
Long dead 'Angela'

Also one of a few links I can think of for you for deeper thought into about the harm of rain and mixup theories of mine concerning no consistent signalling events having to do with hypersensitivity of various signals that science is still nowhere close to addressing for us concerning multigraft parts of trees put together in one basic unit.

https://globalplantcouncil.org/why-plants-panic-when-it-rains/

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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8
March 17, 2020 - 6:01 pm

I can't say for sure which in the above 3 cherry pictures I took today are the least or the most prone to bacterial gummosis because my watering strategies that I use in my yard were not the same. I do know that using more resistant cultivars is the leading method of choice above all else by the institutions breeding fruit trees.

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MNtransplant
La Center, WA
12 Posts
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March 20, 2020 - 11:29 am

Wow.  What a lot of information!  I so appreciate you taking the time to share your own experiences, Rooney, and the helpful links.

It certainly makes sense to, first and foremost, plant the most disease resistant variety for my area, and then pay careful attention to watering practices.   

Our particular cherry tree was kind of an impulse purchase...I had been researching apple trees, and my husband thought it would be interesting to throw a cherry tree into the orchard while we were hunting for our apple varieties.   So, it certainly has turned into a learning opportunity.  

Moving forward, I see the benefit of eliminating the most susceptible varieties to reduce stress on the tree.  I just bought copper fungicide, so I may as well see if it will help in this case.    I suppose at this point, it becomes a question of deciding; how much time and effort am I willing to invest in my attempt to recover the tree? 

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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March 20, 2020 - 11:46 am

I am glad what I said makes sense. Of course you and I (like any 2 persons) go about ways of treating things in different ways. A third option not being discussed almost breaking news (maybe last couple years) is that certain bacteria in the ground manufacture medicine for plants and for everything in our fruit world of trees. It means that as the bad bacteria try thriving in the stressed and injured areas of the tree the good bacteria in the ground are there to rectify the problem specifically.

Which is more an area that I have not experimented with (so that's John S' area) until recently when I bought 10 pounds of pure wettable powder bacteria. I am supposed to use that as a soil drench.

Thanks.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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March 20, 2020 - 7:50 pm

I would paint the biodynamic tree paste here as well.
John S
PDX OR

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