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Weeping cherry

I have a 12-year-old weeping cherry and it's been great until last season when the leaves all dried up and got big brown spots on them. I thought the tree was dying but the wood was still green. It didn't shed its leaves normally and even now a few dried leaves are still clinging on. I'm of the opinion that the leaves got some kind of disease as the buds are pushing their way through. Could you please advise as to what kind of spray I could use when the tree blossoms and the new leaves (if any) come on the tree again?

 

It does sound like your poor weeping cherry tree has had a disease, probably a fungus.  Fungal diseases often attack when a tree is stressed too little or too much water, disturbance of the roots, lack of nutrients in the soil.  There are a number of things you could (and should) do.

First of all, remove any material from your tree which could be harbouring fungal spores.  Any dead leaves or twigs should be carefully and cleanly removed and burned.  Prune off any branches which appear to be diseased or damaged.  Pick up and destroy any twigs or leaves from under the tree, and remove any weeds.

To try to prevent future attacks, you should spray with an appropriate fungicide.  Look for a spray which targets fungal diseases on ornamentals, specifically one which refers to stonefruit.  Be cautious about copper sprays as they are known to damage the leaves of some stonefruit.

Finally, try to make sure your weeping cherry is as healthy and stress-free as possible.  Keep the tree well-watered in summer, mulch (but not up against the truck) and feed with a slow-release fertiliser.  When pruning, try to prevent branches rubbing against each other, and thin branches when they get to overcrowded. Good luck.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH
 
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