Cherry Tree Leaves Dead

kingme77(6)June 10, 2011

Hello, I planted three Okame Cherry trees last spring. All three bloomed this year and looked healthy. They are all about 5' tall. In the past month one of them started to develop a condition which resulted in all its leaves dyeing. We have had a lot of rain this spring as most people in the northeast know. Not sure if that can be a contributor.

I have also noticed some spores growing under the tree. It may or may not be related. I know the picture is blurry but I couldn't get the camera to focus.

They kind of look like this: http://mushroomexpert.com/cyathus_striatus.html. My question is, what is going on with this tree? Is it a blight or disease or something else? Can it be treated? I have scraped the bottom of the trunk and its still living, for now. Do I need to remove the dead leaves? And is there anything I can do to improve its condition? If you need anymore information please ask. And thank you to anyone who can give me some answers.

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Dan Staley

Dan's Default #1: improperly planted.

Scratch the bark on a twig. No green underneath, nothing to do to improve condition.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

second pic.. just mushrooms in the decaying mulch.. unrelated to the tree issue ..

need a pic of whole tree... ken

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:26PM
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kingme77(6)

"Dan's Default #1: improperly planted."
Really, I did a lot of research and tried to take precautions. But it was my first time planting trees so you may very well be right.

Ken, I will take a full tree pic when I get home from work and post it this evening.

Thanks for the responses guys.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 4:12PM
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kingme77(6)

OK here is a full pic of the tree.

And I scraped one of the branches and it was green/white under bark. You can kind of see the scrape under the branch in the pic below.

Thanks again for any advise.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:46PM
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kayelle2u(7)

They bloomed this year? I didn't think they would bloom quite so young. Now I know nothing... totally amateur here. I planted 3 cherry trees last Spring also, just little 1 foot twigs at the time. They grew 5, 6 and 8 feet tall in the first year. I did not nor did I expect to have blooms this year. they are beauties this year at 6, 8 and 9 feet, full and really thick trunks. I see you are in zone 6, I am in zone 7b, maybe that makes a difference but I would think it would be the opposite because I thought cherry trees do better in the north. My wonder to you and anyone who responds, why are the trunks on the trees in this photo so slim yet old enough to be blooming? Link to current photos below.

Here is a link that might be useful: chery trees 6-11-11

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:22PM
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kingme77(6)

Im trying to recall when, I believe it was march when they bloomed. I remember being worried because not long after they bloomed we had a frost. Anyways, I didn't buy them locally. I don't know if that would make a difference or not. They were bought online but I don't recall where they were grown.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:46PM
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kayelle2u(7)

I bought mine online as well... the smallest of the 3 I worried it wouldn't make it... it is the best formed tree as of yet. I can see where a frost would damage the blooms... but not the entire tree... I feel for you. I would be heart broken. I would leave them in the ground until next
Spring, then kiss them goodbye if no production. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:55PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Kingme,

"Dan's defalt" is kind of an inside joke for this forum. I often wonder how people from outside take it (some not well, I'd bet). The reason for it is that so many people ask why their trees die and a large percentage of the problems we see are due to improper planting. Dan uses his "defalt" as a way to say "without more information, improper planting is the best shot-in-the-dark guess", or, in some cases, "as is so often the case, I see signs of improper planting." I think in this case, it's the first meaning and he is saying it's the most likely guess.

If I had to guess, I'd bet the problem has something to do with improper watering and/or drainage. But, like with "Dan's defalt", that's just a guess at this point (and may be considered a subset of Dan's guess, I guess).

Anyway, take a really careful look though the link below and see if you see anything that conflicts with the way you planted and maintained your tree. If so, we can explore the possibility of that being an issue. I kind of doubt the excess rain was the problem, unless you planted the trees with amended backfill soil or have really poor drainage. Also, as Ken said, the fungus is unrelated to the problem and of no consequence.

One other thing I can't see well in the pictures you posted is the graft union (maybe I see it, but I can't tell for sure even when I blew the pictures up to as large as I could). Is the graft union above ground, and how did you determine proper planting depth? I don't think that's likely to be what killed your trees, but I'm just wondering about it.
___________________________________

Kayelle,

I think the form on Kingme's trees is more typical than yours. Apparently yours were bench grafts on some pretty vigorous rootstocks. Kingme's trees appear to be typical grafted feathered whips. Some of yours appear like they may be growing suckers from the rootstocks (although I couldn't tell for sure from the pictures you provided). In any case, I'd consider some pruning work within the next year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a Tree or Shrub

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:39PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Those "spore things" are a cute little fungus called bird's nest fungus. Not a problem. Just degrade dead woody stuff such as your mulch.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Dan Staley

Dan uses his "defa[u]lt" as a way to say "without more information, improper planting is the best shot-in-the-dark guess"

Actually, I use this as a way to say "so many problems on this board are due to improper planting, that in this - and so many cases - the odds are excellent that improper planting is the cause".

Ask for a close-up of the trunk at the ground. Wager. PayPal?

Dan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:31PM
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kingme77(6)

Brandon,
thank you for the detailed response. Now that I know more about the "Dans default" comment, as an outsider I would say it made me feel inadequate. I do not take offense of the saying as it is true. I read and sometimes post here because I am learning. I planted five trees last year, (three cherries, a maple, and a Gingko. This year I am planting shrubs. I know I am no landscaper, but I am having fun doing the research and the work. I look forward to watching them grow. That is why I surf this site frequently.

As for the drainage guess, the three cherries are lined down the side of my backyard. They are on a slight incline. The tree in question is in the middle, with one slightly higher and one slightly lower.

I looked through the link. It was very informative, thank you. I used peat moss and a fertilizer when planting the trees. I dug the hole twice as big as the root ball. I used a hand cultivator on the sides and bottom of the hole to make smaller holes for "roughen the edges of the planting hole." The one thing I can think of that I may have done incorrectly is the part about teasing the root ball. I did try to loosen the roots but wasn't sure how much was enough. So maybe I didn't tease enough? Not sure.

I tried to make sure the ground was level with the surface of the dirt that was in the pot. So the same amount of trunk was sticking out of my yard as it was when it was in the pot, if that makes sense.

As for improper planting, I really did do a lot of research when I planted them. Most of it was on this site. But I definitely cant rule it out as like I have said before, It was my first time.

I will get a picture of the trunk going into the ground for you guys. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for with the graft union, so I'll let you guys decide.

Thanks again for all the reply's, and sorry for the lengthy post.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:41AM
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kayelle2u(7)

I really don't know how grafting works. I have a vague idea. Not all trees are grafted right? I bought my cherry trees off Ebay. When they arrived, they were 12 inches sticks with bare roots, no signs of grafting. But then since I don't know what grafting looks like, maybe they were. They were literally just little twigs.

I know they will need pruning, I just wasn't sure when to prune. What does suckers coming up from the ground mean? Is that a bad thing?

Sorry, not trying to take over your forum... I hope your Cherry trees pull through!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:59AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Actually, I use this as a way to say "so many problems on this board are due to improper planting, that in this - and so many cases - the odds are excellent that improper planting is the cause"."

Yep, that's what I said Dan. Gee whiz, I can't believe I misspelled default so many times. What's wrong with my dang spell checker thingy. Maybe my "u" button was stuck...yeah that's the ticket...
__________________________________________________________

"I used peat moss and a fertilizer when planting the trees."

Yikes. I see Dan's Defa[u]lt rearing its ugly head. Peat moss should never be used when planting a cherry under any circumstances whatsoever that I can possibly imagine. It makes Brandon's Defa[u]lt (poor drainage) and moisture extremes a strong likelihood. Peat moss holds way too much moisture when it gets wet, making root rot hard to escape, and then dries out and becomes hard to re-wet when dry. Whatever source you used that suggested its use should be filed in the circular file at once!
__________________________________________________________

Kayelle,

It is entirely possible your trees weren't grafted, but I've never heard of one growing from a small whip to 8' tall in one year. That sounds like a science experiment gone crazy. Bench grafts (in this instance, meaning small scions grafted onto large, healthy rootstocks) can experience phenomenal growth, and that's why I guessed that that was what you had.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:40AM
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kingme77(6)

I dug up the directions from the site I bought them from and it says, I can use either peat moss or gardening soil with a 50/50 mixture of native soil. From what your telling me that is incorrect. I wish I would have asked the people here instead of going by these directions.

Here are the pictures of the trunk in the ground. I hope it helps.

If the peat moss is my issue, can the tree be dug up in an effort to right the soil or does my tree have no hope?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:03AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

A 50/50 mixture of peat moss and native soil is not just incorrect, it's insane! I'd say whoever you bought them from owes you a new tree with free shipping plus a huge apology. Who were these knuckleheads, if you don't mind me asking?

I doubt the tree has much hope at this point. Miracles happen, but this tree would need at least a small one to live. Replanting at this time of year would just add extra stress, so would probably not be worth the effort at this point.

From the pictures, it also appears that your tree may be planted to deep. How did you determine the proper planting depth? Ideally trees should be planted so that the uppermost root(s) are just below the surface. I don't see any sign of roots on your tree. If you tree was grafted (I don't remember if you mentioned whether or not it was), I also don't see any graft union which should be above ground by at least a couple of inches.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:49PM
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kingme77(6)

I purchased the trees form fast-growing-trees.com. I thought they were a reputable site at the time of purchase. After purchasing the trees I found more negative comments and regretted not doing more research on them.

The trees are Okame Cherry trees. I was under the impression that all these types of Cherry trees are started with a graft. I pulled the tree out of the pot and made the surface of what was in the pot even with top of the hole I dug. I guess I needed to remove some of the dirt that was in the pot to uncover the graft? Unfortunately it is too late.

So how long will it take for me to know if this tree is a "no hope?" And do you have any suggestions for me about the other two? I planted them the same way. I will check tomorrow to see if I can locate what looks like a graft. They look good right now, but I guess they can go down hill at any time. I will also contact the company about getting a replacement.

Thanks again for the reply brandon.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

fast-growing-trees.com
fastgrowingtree.com
Robert Zboch
Paulownia Supply
paulowniasupply.com
brighterblooms.com
evergreen-trees.com
japanesemaplestore.com
thujagiant.com

Ah, that disreputable company. That explains the incorrect information you received about planting. Getting anything from them will be like getting 10 gallons of blood out of a single turnip. They have an abysmal reputation and apparently don't care. They are only one step above TyTy, from what I've heard.

Ignore the stuff about a graft union. You trees were probably grown from rooted cuttings. The concern about planting depth (how deep is that first root?) is still valid though.

I don't know when all hope is lost, but most hope for this tree is already long gone. I'd just assume it wasn't going to leaf back out and contact the company (not that I expect that to do any good).

Next time you want to buy a tree, look the company up on Garden Watchdog. If they aren't there, AVOID them; they would either be very very new, very very small, or BAD NEWS! If they don't have a good rating (like the nursery you got this tree from), you probably shouldn't send them your money.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:12AM
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Dan Staley

So how long will it take for me to know if this tree is a "no hope?"

Immediately: Posted by dan_staley 5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7 on Fri, Jun 10, 11 at 14:53

Dan's Default #1: improperly planted.

Scratch the bark on a twig. No green underneath, nothing to do to improve condition.

Dan

Even if there's green, with that supplier, I'd start over.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 1:06AM
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kingme77(6)

Well at least I know where I stand now. Thank you brandon and dan for all your help. I will surely use Garden Watchdog from now on, and try to avoid being a victim of "Dan's Default#1" once again.

I guess I'll try to get a new cherry to replace this one. I assume it would be best to wait until fall to plant a new one.

Lesson learned
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:14PM
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