Wild cherry trees are popular for their sweet fruits and their pretty foliage. However, these trees are vulnerable to infections and diseases, and may not last very long if you do not recognize the signs and symptoms in time to treat them. Knowing the warning signs for wild cherry tree diseases will help you keep your wild cherry tree happy and healthy for years to come.
Cherry Leaf Spot
Unlike many other leaf spot diseases, wild cherry leaf spot creates red-bordered spots on the upper side of leaves, while the underside develops a white, waxy layer of deposits. Left unchecked, the infection will cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop. Control the infection by using sterile pruning to remove all affected foliage and branches and to thin the crown of the tree to increase air circulation and allow more light into the body of the tree. This should naturally eradicate the problem.
"Chicken of the Woods" Fungus
Laetiporus sulphureus, commonly known as "chicken of the woods," is a lurid yellow fungus that grows to great size on the sides of wild cherry trees. If the fungal body is not removed, it will eat away at the tree and cause brown rot that can kill the plant entirely. If you spot the fungus early enough you may be able to remove it and prevent the death of your tree. However, if the infection returns, then the entire tree is doomed, and failure to remove it quickly can result in the spread of the infection to other trees in the area, as this fungus has a wide range of potential hosts.
Black knot is a common disease on cherry trees that can be quite serious. This fungal infection creates hard, elongated, black, swollen areas on young branches on the tree. Left unchecked, these knots will girdle the branches and kill them. In order to control the infection you must use sterile pruning and disposal techniques to remove all knots before budbreak in early spring. The best way, if the knots are on small, nonvital branches, is to prune the entire branch about 4 inches below the lowest knot. Once you are done pruning, treat the entire tree with a dormant spray of lime sulfur to help prevent reinfection and dispose of the debris by burning or in garbage bags rather than allowing it to remain on the ground.