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Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

Posted by cfox248 3 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 13:08

So I mentioned in a previous post of mine I bought a cherry tree! A North Star cherry, to be exact. I have had some experience with finicky plants as I grow potted citrus (And the last half year has been problem after problem with my Meyer lemon!) but from what I've heard I'm in for a challenge.

My question: The North Star will be potted. For a few years, at least. I am preparing to have to fight off any kind of fungus or mildew, which I hear they are prone to. Is there something I can buy to spray the tree in the spring as a preemptive strike against disease? To prevent, rather than treat. Are cherry diseases actually that common that I'll be fighting one off every summer?

Thanks for any input!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

  • Posted by skyjs z8 OR, USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 19:03

Biggest factor is where do you live?
John S

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

Sorry. I live in Minnesota, riiiiight on the line of zone 3 and 4 in the Twin Cities.

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

brown rot --- brown rot -- brown rot ... that will be the biggest issue. Then you had birds, plum curculio, and powdery mildew. This year has been horrible on everything. Too much rain. Sours don't seem to crack (i have Evans/North Star).

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

I can deal with birds, at least. anything I can do to preemptively spray for brown rot? An antifungal with copper? Any brand recommendations? Powdery mildew at least is easy enough to get rid of with a spray.

A google search tells me that Plum Curculio is a bug. Are they controlled easily enough with blasting with the hose when I water? Mites and aphids can sometimes be controlled that way. Otherwise I have neem and horticultural oil?

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

Cherry tree came today! The leaves did look a little sad, like I expected per previous experience with the company. It didn't strike me as a fungal issue already but I sprayed it with a fungicide anyways. I repotted it in a huge pot in really well draining soil (Black Gold soil heavily amended with pine nuggets and perlite) and watered it deeply with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.

I read that Myclobutanil is the best fungicide to get? That's what I bought... Do I need any other kind? When do I spray it? Do I need one to water into the roots? (Can you tell fungal problems are a main concern of mine?) The one I bought says it treats all the big ones.. Powdery mildew, brown rot, leaf curl, etc.

Here's some pics.

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RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

Here in MD the only problem I've had with my North Star cherry has been brown rot on the fruit. But the last two years this has meant the loss of all cherries on the tree. I have not sprayed for rot. I have relatively little trouble with curculio. In contrast, my Montmorency sour cherry tree has very few problems with rot and provides large crops. (Birds like the fruit on both trees, however, and if you are not vigilant will strip them of fruit.)

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?

That's refreshing to hear! All I've been reading is horror stories about fungus and rot. I don't mind birds, the tree is small enough to net. I actually had it wrong on the active ingredient - I have Fung-onil, I don't remember what it is but it starts with a C and it was suggested as an alternative to what I mentioned above.

Currently cherry tree is very wilty and sad. Not surprised - I was extremely careful and saved 99.5% of the roots, but the shock of being bare rooted and potted is pretty extreme for the current time in the season. The dirt it was in was just awful though, so I felt it'd be better. At least if it drops all its leaves in protest the ones that leaf out will look nice and green. Hopefully it doesn't die.

RE: Cherry tree: What should I expect/prepare for disease wise?


I have had a North star cherry for 13 years now in SE WI. This year is the first time I ever had brown rot issues. It was a very wet spring however.

I do sometimes get a powdery mildew outbreak especially once I net the tree. This year I sprayed some Potassium Bicarbonate just before netting and not much issue on mildew.

Birds are the worst issue and some cherry leaf spot. North Star gets just a few leaves with cherry leaf spot and not the issue that it has been on my other two tart cherry varieties.

Curculio is a native snout weevil that comes out of wooded areas and will lay eggs in Prunus, Malus and other fruits.
I never seem to have much issue with it in my cherries although I do spray with an insecticide from petal fall til mid-june which is prime curculio season. This year with all the rain I have curculio in a few of my plums despite spraying. The damaged fruit colored early and is dropping. Hard to control when we had rain almost every day in spring and 1/2"-2" at a time. Even Imidan let me down this year on apples too. Probably washed away.

My North Star was done on harvest last week. I took the netting down and went inside. In less than 10 minutes, I had 4 robins and a squirrel in the tree eating the few cherries I had left on the tree. Birds will be the biggest battle to face on growing cherries.

Worth it though for all the pies,jam, cobbler ect. Just be sure to net the tree at the first sign of pink on the fruits.

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