I have a 2 year old cherry tree. I allowed it to make a few cherries in the first year, and this year I (got greedy) and allowed all of the dozen or so flowers to get pollinated. Now the leaves have turned yellow from the base going up ward, and from the base of the branches going to the tips and all the flowers dried up and turned brown . I read that it was probably too much of a stress on the young tree before it got its roots established to allow it to fruit.
My question is this: How can I mitigate the damage the best, and not lose the tree? It won't die, will it?
Thanks in advance,
My main question is, what should I do?
So then you have to go through the list: is the soil OK? moisture? anything attacking the roots? insect damage? fungal disease of some sort? did anyone mess around with Roundup near the tree?
Marco - I honestly don't know if the soil is OK... I've placed mulch around the tree and some sheep manure and besides the elephant garlic, and some amendments when planting that's all I've done to it. How do I know if anything is attacking the roots? I don't see any signs of insect damage. I did notice that the leaves were going yellow from the base of the tree up, and from the centre of the leaf out... which made me think the tree was drawing back nutrients or withholding them. (Total shot in the dark guess there). I don't know how to determine if it's fungus either, nothing obvious was apparent.
My peach tree with leaf worsening leaf curl is about 4-5 meters away. Not sure if that is relevant.
Definitely no round-up around these parts though. At least that one I can eliminate right off the hop.
the treatment is to pull the dirt from around the crown of the tree and place the root borer preventive around the crown
and cover it back . if you dont have root borers in your area you have probably watered too much . cherries dont like soggy ground.
Robert - We had some (3-4) fairly hot days - in the high 20s C (80s and above F) so I thought it was too dry when I saw the yellowing. I pulled the mulch back a little when I took out the elephant garlic and the soil underneath the mulch wasn't as dry as I would have thought. I hadn't watered it in a few days by that point and I went ahead and gave it approx 15L of water.... Perhaps I did over-water it because I had given it some water about 5 days previous?
Michael - I mulched in the doughnut shape that I had heard about and kept the mulch off the trunk as much as possible. The branch-stump you can see in the picture is where this tree had two branches previously and I cut one off. In hindsight I don't think I should have cut it off (I made this cut at the start of the previous season and the tree seemed no worse for wear, but I don't think two trunks would have hurt anything except aesthetics and now I have 1/2 as much tree)!
I also thought of trunk rot and felt the trunk at the base. It was not squishy which is how I tried to check for something wrong at that spot. Is that the way to check? It didn't look moldy or rotten.
I hope it kind of stabilizes and tries to put out new growth..however I guess that depends on what the cause of the problem is.
PS Thank you all for your help!
Thank you to all of the permies again who gave their advice. I will take the best care of this tree that I can and hope it comes back.
Therefore, without sufficient amounts of magnesium, plants begin to degrade the chlorophyll in the old leaves. This causes the main symptom of magnesium deficiency, chlorosis, or yellowing between leaf veins, which stay green, giving the leaves a marbled appearance. Due to magnesium’s mobile nature, the plant will first break down chlorophyll in older leaves and transport the Mg to younger leaves which have greater photosynthetic needs. Therefore, the first sign of magnesium deficiency is the chlorosis of old leaves which progresses to the young leaves as the deficiency continues.
Wikipedia - Magnesium Deficiency (plants)
If so, a sprinkle of epsom salt around the tree might go a long way. In fact, a sprinkle of epsom salt around the area is probably a good idea regardless - most soils are "deficient" in available sulfur and magnesium these days, and most of the "fill" they use in suburban lots seems to have high aluminum levels which will only exacerbate magnesium issues.
If you do apply some epsom salt, go fairly light (no more than 1/8 cup or so) and don't bother watering it in yourself unless the soil's dried out well to at least an inch down already. Don't apply directly to the root zone, either - sprinkle it around just outside the root zone (so just a touch beyond the canopy of the tree) so it can access the nutrients if it needs them without being force-fed
My recommendations would be
If your cherries are planted on a hillside dig a French drain from your improved soil downhill so any excess water has a place to drain away.
Get a soil test done before you add any more Epsom salt. You may be making the problem worse.
Around here we often plant things like cherries that are sensitive to wet feet on an artificial mound to assure proper drainage. Might be a good excuse to build a hugelmound.
Mg or Fe deficiency usually shows the veining in the leaves and it usually affects the leaf fairly evenly. The lack of veining and mottled appearance cause me to doubt that one.
And borer root damage is often less general in location on the tree. Usually a side of the tree will show damage or if general the whole tree will show damage not this sort of mottled pattern.
One other possible is do you have a bad aphid problem? I have seen this sort of mottled pattern in small trees with bad aphid problem. But the progression pattern and the whitish yellow areas cause me to say this one is one is highly unlikely. Usually aphids cause a solid yellowish color and the leaves go pale green first which I see no sign of.
In my experience once this starts it usually kills the tree. Anything you can do to improve the drainage will help. If the roots have died back a severe pruning might bring the tree back into balance. Of course this is all based on the assumption that the tree is suffering from a root dieback caused by suffocation. Too much water could also lead to a fungal infection which is a much harder problem to solve unless you are willing to use something toxic.
We've had 3-4 days of constant rain here so I went ahead, dug up the tree. Filled the hole with a log and branches, covered it all with soil and then planted the tree on the top of the mound of earth. I mixed the heavy clay earth with some compost to help with drainage. I hope that makes sense, I've always read that organic matter retains water... unfortunately I didn't have any large rocks or sand to help with drainage. Thanks for all the responses. I just have to make sure the roots don't get exposed to the air and the tree should be ok, right?
A word of warning about master gardeners. We are supposed to give science based advice. A lot of that science is paid for by companies that have a product to sell. So that skews the science and the advice toward the chemical solution. A lot of what I have seen here on permies is aimed at preventing the problem rather than intervening after the fact. You'll need to decide for yourself which path you want to take.
don't take pot shots, screwing with new trees without at least knowing what is or is not in your soil might not be good. obviously you care about the tree and it looks very young. you should be pulling all the fruit off for three to five years till the tree gets well established to ensure longevity. a properly grown stone fruit tree should produce when it's mature for 20-30 years. think of it like this you don't want your children trying to having babies before they are mature? do you?
wood chips and mulch that are not fully composted only cause problems most of the time. i dont know what your soil is like but did you prepare well with digging big hole before planting and adding a mixture of quality top soil, peat moss and sand, then plant your tree. I have had a peach and apple orchard, about 500 trees till it got destroyed by my greedy idiot step dad. 2 1/2 years ago I bought my own property and started planting cherries, peaches and apples, about 1/2 have died because ---I don't know
but I learned that the site preparation is very important unless your in a place where the trees you are planting grow naturally.
It's a pleasure to see superheros taking such an interest in science. And this tiny ad:
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