Kwanzan Cherry - Ill dropping leaves too early

sakedy(7)August 13, 2014

I have a mature Kwanzan Cherry 12-14ft that was planted from the nursery this past spring. It has been doing very well until premature leaf dropping has become a major issue. Over the past two weeks it has lost about 50% of its leaves. At first there was no visible cause, but now at the end of week two you can see very visible signs of damage on the falling leaves (see pic). Is this cherry leaf spot? I treated the tree today with Chlorothalonil however am wondering if this will address the issue. Also how does one manage a tree that has become ill into next season? Is this condition manageable or is it only time before the tree fails due to stress? Thanks for your thoughts.

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

That's leaf spot and very typical. It looks like there could be scale on a couple stems but I can't say for sure. A recent transplant, especially of that size, you should expect 'stress'. Also given the fact this entire year has been so cool, there has been a triggering of early leaf drop (trees thinking the weather is fall-like.)

You don't say where you are and should adjust your profile (bottom of the page click on "member pages" and proceed.) A determination of where you are located always helps people process information and causes. I'm in IL for example where the weather has been very-very cool.

What I would suggest is you rake up any of those leaves and dispose of them.... keeping them out of the perimeter of your tree so rain and irrigation doesn't return the bacteria back into the soil/roots and continue watering which will establish the roots/tree and monitor in future years if the leaf spot continues while spraying as necessary.

Cherries whether ornamental or fruit bearing are magnets for leaf spot. If after several years and possibly continuing past five years you see leaf fungal diseases, you should probably spray the tree while dormant with a liquid copper fungicide. And if you see signs of leaf spot after spraying, spray as necessary according to the label.

I think it should be distinguished that the early leaf drop is separate from the leaf spot. Yes, leaf spot will cause pre-mature leaf drop, however, not in the amounts you're currently seeing. Right now it could be cool weather to attribute this to, or equally, it being a new transplant.

Regarding what may be scale, have a close look and google the images for scale on leaves. If you have scale which is likely occurring mainly because the tree is in stress... making it vulnerable to insect activity, only treat annually if you see it again in subsequent years... with horticultural oil. You will spray the tree while dormant at the same time as you spray the copper.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its august.. leaf stress is the norm ... i would NOT have treated ...

its a large transplant.. august stress multiplied a bazillion times ...

never use chems until you have properly IDd the problem... you guessed.. and now wonder ..

what does you seller say???

would help to know where you are... and your ambient weather this season ....i have had sporadic prolonged droughts.. ALL my trees are showing stress .. i will treat none of them.. and they have been in the ground 10 plus years ...

the number one cause of leaf stress.. in the heat of summer... is improper watering of a large transplant .. and chemical sprays will not solve that issue...

more info please


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Updated - I'm in Zone 7 (Midlothian, VA) We've had anything but cool weather thus far. We've been daily temps 90s for many weeks. Still in the mid-upper 80's daytime temps. We've had a very hot year, I suspect the leaf spot was triggered by a significant rain event after months of drought and hand watering of this particular tree. My seller unfortunately won't guarantee any plantings (lesson learned for the future). Thanks for the comments.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:44PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Welcome aboard. Nice tree, my neighbor has one. And wow, a big transplant. That must have been quite the feat.

Most importantly, follow the above instructions and remove the leaves from the area.

Then wash your hands with some anti microbial dish soap and let them dry.

Then return to the tree and stick your finger down a few inches to the root ball. See if it is moist or dry then water accordingly.

Sometime around when my tiny planted sticks get to be that size watering becomes a chore. What procedure have you been following?

May as well post a pic of the trunk where it meets the ground and tell us how they planted it. Was it in wire? Burlap still on? Bare root?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:10PM
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