I have a young cherry tree (planted almost two years ago) that appears to have cherry blast. The leaves have all drooped and died, and the bark has split. The bark has not split all the way down the trunk, although it is over the majority.

Am I best to prune it down to where the trunk appears to be fine, or just pull the whole tree out?

I’m a very novice gardener so just not quite sure!

Also, are there any tips on preventing this in the future for my other fruit trees?

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Hi Alana,

If the tree along with its cracks is showing signs of a gummy-like sap it is most likely the cherry bacterial blast.

In very bad cases it may mean the tree is best to come out all together but I always like to try and save plants first where we can.

  • Prune infected limbs to around 10cm below the infected limb into the healthy side.
  • Remove all infected material away from the gardens.
  • Spray the whole tree with a liquid copper fungicide- follow the directions on the bottle.
  • If the tree does live through its ordeal, spray copper again in autumn.

Unfortunately now is the time where the bacteria seems to be present, cool and wet springs can be one of the things that can help this bacteria take hold.

Prevention methods in the future:

  • Prune in the winter to get good air circulation happening.
  • If you prune the cherry tree, do not prune when it is raining, it must be completely dry.
  • Seal cuts with a pruning paste to prevent the bacteria from entering wounds.
  • Disinfect pruning equipment.
  • Keep the area clear of any clippings etc.
  • Avoid overhead watering, water at the base of trees.
  • Choose a site that has good drainage.
  • A winter spray program can be beneficial to control bugs and bacterias.

Good luck, it can be a nasty disease.

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