Cherry fruit fly — protect your cherries from this worm-laying pest

Cherry fly, techniques & treatments to avoid it

The bug often called “cherry fruit fly” is a tiny fly that lays eggs on ripening cherries. It’s also called the “cherry maggot”.

Generally, this happens end of May or beginning of June, and can last until July.

Refer to our guidance on how to effectively fight against cherry flies, and you’ll spare yourself the disappointment of seeing your cherry harvest ruined.

Symptoms of a cherry fruit fly invasion

From under the tree, suspicious cherries can be noticed, but picking an infected one makes it easier to identify the pest.

  • A small part of the cherry starts to turn brown and shrivels up.
  • Tiny pinholes can be seen along the cherry’s skin and when pressed, juice squirts out through them.
  • The fruit rots from the inside, and the cherry maggot hatched from laid eggs appears.

Which cherry tree cultivars are most hit?

Late-bearing cultivars are often harder hit than cultivars with early fruit fruit formation.

What does the cherry fly look like?

It’s a small fly that belongs to the Rhagoletis family. There are a number of variations that look very similar:

  • Rhagoletis cingulata, the eastern cherry fruit fly, is found in central and eastern United States and Canada.
  • Rhagoletis cerasi, the European cherry fruit fly, strikes only in Europe, including the United Kingdom.
  • Rhagoletis fausta, the black cherry fruit fly, can be found in the entire United States and Southern Canada.
  • Rhagoletis indifferens, the western cherry fruit fly, appears in the Western United States.

These all are about a quarter-inch (4 mm) in size and are hard to see on the trees. They hover in flight as they inspect cherries to lay their eggs in. The maggots start off tiny and nibble around the pit until they’re about 1/4th inch (4 mm) long.

Here’s a video that shows the cherry fruit fly

Best way to treat against the fly

  • First of all, the most effective solution is to plant early varieties such as the ‘Bigarreau‘ variety, since the fruits mature before the fly has yet spread to become seriously invasive.
  • Set up sulfate ammonium traps to attract the flies, also called pheromone traps.
  • Spray a 100% organic selective insecticide.

Smart tip about the cherry fly

Start harvesting your cherries as soon as the first ones are ripening. Since the cherry fly usually lays eggs in soft, ripe cherries, you’ll be depriving it of potential nesting spots, while ensuring you at least get some fruits for yourself!

While picking, immediately eliminate cherries that show signs of fruit rot, and spray your hands with alcohol or disinfectant to keep the disease from spreading.

www.nature-and-garden.com

Western Cherry Fruit Fly Info – Controlling Western Cherry Fruit Flies

Western cherry fruit files are small pests, but they do big damage in home gardens and commercial orchards across the western United States. Read on for more western cherry fruit fly information.

Western Cherry Fruit Fly Identification

Western cherry fruit flies live in the soil as brownish-yellow pupae during the winter months, emerging as adult flies in late spring and early summer. Adult western cherry fruit flies are smaller than house flies, with black bodies marked with white bands. The flies are weak fliers and usually land on the nearest cherry tree.

Female western cherry fruit flies, which fatten up on aphid honeydew and pollen, are ready to lay eggs about a week after emerging from the soil. Females live 35 days or less, but this relatively short period of time is long enough to do serious damage, which the pests accomplish by poking holes and laying eggs inside cherries.

One female can lay 50 to 200 eggs, which hatch maggot-like larvae in five to eight days. The larvae burrow deep into the cherry where they feed and grow for 10 to 12 days before falling to the ground, where the cherry fruit fly life cycle begins again.

Western Cherry Fruit Fly Control

In home gardens, fine netting can prevent adult fruit flies from landing on ripening fruit. Drape the netting over the tree and secure it with string or tape. Leave the netting in place until you’re ready to harvest the cherries.

While netting is effective for single trees, insecticides may be the best way of controlling western cherry fruit flies in orchards. The key to using insecticides effectively is timing. Many orchardists use baited sticky traps that reveal when adult flies are active – usually in mid-spring, when cherries are light green.

Several insecticides have proven to be effective in cherry fruit fly control, including spinosad, carbaryl, malathion and permethrin. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for specific info for controlling western cherry fruit flies in your area, as timing is critical. Use insecticides with care, as improper use may kill beneficial insects, including honeybees.

Preventing and Controlling Western Cherry Fruit Flies

Here are some tips that can help with prevention and control of these pests:

  • A thick layer of mulch on the ground around cherry trees may prevent the pests from burrowing into the soil, thus limiting new hatches.
  • Avoid leaving cherries on the trees at the end of the season to ensure the removal of all pest-infested fruit. If necessary, prune trees so you can easily reach the fruit. Similarly, pick up all fruit that drops on the ground. Insecticides may be needed to control late-emerging flies.
  • Parasitic wasps – especially braconid wasps – can help control the pests in home gardens, but usually aren’t effective in orchards.

www.gardeningknowhow.com

Cherry-Western cherry fruit fly

The maggot of the western cherry fruit fly

M. R. Bush, WA State University

Pest description and crop damage Adults are somewhat smaller than a house fly and are about 0.2 inch long. They have brownish to black wings with dark bands. White maggots infest cherries. The mature maggot makes a hole in the cherry as it exits. In the Northwest, the western cherry fruit fly is known to infest both home grown and commercial cherries. Western cherry fruit fly is also found in wild bitter cherry ( Prunus emarginata) .

Biology and life history The flies overwinter as pupae in the soil. The adult flies emerge from the soil from mid May, about 5 weeks before harvest, until the end of July. Peak emergence often coincides with harvest. Adults feed on honeydew on leaves and pollen. After 7 to 10 days, females lay eggs under the skin of the fruit. The eggs hatch, and the larvae burrow toward the pit of the fruit. There they feed for 10 to 21 days before boring out and dropping to the ground to pupate. There is one generation per year. Adults emerge early the following season. A few pupae of western cherry fruit fly may remain in soil as long as 3 years.

Pest monitoring There is no tolerance for cherry fruit fly in cherry fruit, thus the threshold is zero. Degree day models are used to determine first emergence in the major cherry production regions of the Pacific Northwest. Consult with your county Extension agent to determine the development of cherry fruit fly populations in your area. Yellow sticky traps hung in sunny parts of the tree will attract adults. Monitor daily.

Home orchardists: Grow early-maturing varieties such as ‘Chelan.’ Pick fruit within 8 to 9 days of catching the first flies, which will happen before egg hatch. Remove all fruit from the trees to eliminate sites for the fly to reproduce. Cultivation of the soil has not been effective, as the pupae are very hard-shelled.

Management-chemical control: HOME USE

Warning: Many pesticides are hazardous to bees. Look for bee precautionary statements on product labels and do not use these products during bloom or if bees are foraging in the orchard.

Begin spraying late May and continue through harvest. Spray at 10- to 21-day intervals. Degree-days can also be used to better determine fly emergence which is 950 degree-days after March 1.

  • acetamiprid
  • carbaryl
  • esfenvalerate
  • imidacloprid-Soil drenches may have residual activity in woody plants lasting for 12 or more months. If short-term management is the goal, consider other approaches
  • kaolin clay (Surround at Home)-Applied as a spray to leaves, stems, and fruit, it acts as a repellant to some insect pests. OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • malathion
  • pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • zeta-cypermethrin

Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Warning : These materials are hazardous to bees. Do not use during bloom or if bees are foraging in the orchard.

  • acetamiprid (Assail 70WP) at 2.3 to 3.4 oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 7 days.
  • carbaryl (Carbaryl 4L) at 2 to 3 quarts/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 3 days. Extremely toxic to aquatic invertebrates; avoid spray drift and runoff to surface waters.
  • diazinon (Diazinon 50W) 4 lb/a. REI 4 days. PHI 21 days. Do not exceed one in-season application per year.
  • esfenvalerate (Asana XL) at 4.8 to 14.5 fl oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 14 days. May aggravate spider mite problems. Extremely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates; avoid spray drift and runoff to surface waters.
  • imidacloprid (Prey 1.6F, Nuprid 1.6F) at 6 to 8 fl oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 7 days. Do not use until pollination is complete and bees are no longer present.
  • malathion (Malathion 57EC) at 1 pint/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 3 days. May injure certain varieties of sweet cherries. Malathion sprays may be less hazardous to bees.
  • malathion (Fyfanon ULV Ag) at 16 oz/a. REI 12 hr. PHI 1 day. Maximum applications per season: sweet cherries- 4; tart cherries- 6. Repeat treatments after heavy rain if label allows.
  • spinetoram (Delegate 25WG) at 6 to 7 oz/a. REI 4 hr. PHI 7 days. Maximum four applications per season.
  • spinosad (Entrust SC) at 4 to 8 fl oz/a. REI 4 hr. PHI 7 days. OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • thiamethoxam (Actara 25WDG) at 4.5 to 5.5 oz. REI 12 hr. PHI 14 days. Repeated applications may cause spider mite buildup. Do not exceed 11 oz /a per season.
  • dimethoate (Dimethoate 4E) at 1 quart/a. REI 10 days (REI 14 days in areas with less than 25 inches/year). One post-harvest application permitted in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Do not feed or graze livestock on cover crops in treated orchards. Do not mix with Syllit.
See also:  How to Spray My House for Bugs, Hunker

pnwhandbooks.org

Cherry fly (Rhagoletis cerasi)

The cherry fly (Rhagoletis cerasi Linnaeus, 1758), is one of the main pests of this delicious fruit.

Until relatively recently it hardly affected in the areas of cherries of early maturation . However, thanks to its good adaptability it has already managed to install itself in areas at 500 meters altitude and below.

Morphological states of the cherry fly

Egg: it is whitish, with elongated-ellipsoid shape and a size of just 0.7×0.2 mm.

Larvae: misnamed cherry worms are whitish and reach between 4 and 6 mm in length.

Pupa: from 4mm of cylindrical size and shape is the way hibernates and the cherry fly spends more time.

Adult: With between 4 and 5 mm in size or their dimensions are similar to those of the olive fly . The wings have tagged spots that alternate dark and transparent colors. On the back you can see a orange semicircular spot.

Biological cycle of Rhagoletis cerasi

At end of April the pupae complete the metamorphosis and the adult fly comes out of the ground. During this period they feed mainly on sugary secretions provided by aphids (aphid).

For about 10-15 days the adult flies mate. The females begin to deposit their eggs when the temperatures are adequate (more than 18ºC). Using the oviscapto (organ used by the fly to perform the chop or put), place an egg under the skin of the cherry. Each female cherry fly has the capacity to put between 50 and 80 eggs.

The fly only puts one egg per cherry, however, if the fly population is high, several flies can chop the same cherry.

Since the beginning of the laying and begin to observe the first worms can take between 2 and 4 weeks.

A few weeks later, after feeding, the worms are buried in the ground forming a pupa and completing a single annual cycle.

Damage caused by the fly

Cherry fly attacks depreciate the value of the fruit. The cherry softens and worsens its flavor, and if the state of the pest is advanced, holes will be visible. In sensitive areas it is necessary to apply treatments against the cherry fly. Otherwise, production losses can be large.
The damage takes between 2 and 4 weeks to be visible so it is necessary to start the control treatments before we can appreciate the activity of the fly.

Control techniques and treatments against the cherry fly

The cultural measures and to a greater extent the treatments with phytosanitary products with insecticides allow to keep under control the cherry fly. Currently, products are being investigated for the biological fight against the plague. focusing on fungi and other pathogens that attack the pupa.

Cultural measures

Do not leave cherries on the tree. Avoid cherries remaining on the ground after harvesting. Use of traps for the fly. To till the land during March-April (before the adults leave).

Chemical treatments with insecticides

The chemical control of the cherry fly should be preventive. Special care must be taken with the plots where it was not possible to harvest cherries during the previous season (damages due to cracking, hail, insufficient price…) Under these conditions a first general treatment is recommended followed by patching applications.

Patch treatments with insecticides to which hydrolysable proteins are added have shown good effectiveness. The bait is applied with a periodicity of less than 7 days on the trunk and opposite branches of the tree. The bait zones must be less than 8 meters apart.

NOTICE: Before applying these products it is important to take into account the security deadlines. One wrong application may mean that we can not harvest the cherries at the optimum time.

The following cherry fly treatments are on the list of products authorized by the ministry as of October 29 2017:

Acetamiprid 0.5%

Trade name Polysect Ultra SL and security term 14 days

Deltametrin 2.5%

We can buy the following commercial products against the cherry fly: Super Delta (3 days), Deltaplan (7 days), Audace (7 days), Decis (7 days), Deltagri (7 days), Scatto (7 days) and Decis Evo (7 days).

Fosmet 50%

Active material marketed under the name Imidan 50WG (14 days)

Lambda Cihalotrin 2.5%

The following products are on sale for the control of the cherry fly: Karate King (7 days), Karate King 2.5 Wg (7 days), Akira (7 days) and Patrol (7 days).

Thiamethoxam 25%

The products authorized for sale are: Actara Y Actara 25 WG, both 14 days of safety term.

Hydrolyzed proteins

The hydrolysed proteins used in the fly patching treatments do not have a safety deadline. NOTICE: We must avoid a direct application on the fruit since they can stain the cherries.

We can find them for sale with the following names: Life Hydrolysed Proteins, Biocebo, Attrack, Nutrel and Flyral.

en.excelentesprecios.com

Cherry Fruit Flies

ENTFACT-217: Cherry Fruit Flies | Download PDF

by Ric Bessin, Extension Specialist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Two species of fruit flies attack the fruit of sweet and sour cherries; the cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cingulata, and the black cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis fausta. These fruit flies are closely related to the apple maggot and the blueberry maggot which attack apples and blueberries, respectively.

Cherry fruit fly maggots feed on the fruit of sweet and sour cherries, pear, plum, and wild cherry. Infested fruits often appear normal until the maggots are nearly full grown. Damage appears as sunken, shriveled areas on the surface of the nearly ripe and ripe fruit. Fruits may be blemished by the egg laying punctures made by the female near the bottom of the fruit. On unmanaged trees, the majority of the fruit may be infested with these maggots.

The adults are black flies with yellow heads and are somewhat smaller than a house fly. Between the base of the wings is a white or cream colored dot. The dark markings on the wings are used to distinguish the species. The abdomen of the black cherry fruit fly is entirely black, while the cherry fruit fly is marked with a series of four-white crossbands. The wing marking of these flies is very characteristic and can also be used to distinguish between the two species.

Cherry fruit flies spend ten months of the year in the soil beneath the trees. Adults emerge from late May to early July and lay their eggs in the fruits. Normally, a rainfall sufficient to wet the upper inch of soil is required before flies will emerge from the soil. Dry soil conditions may postpone emergence. The black cherry fruit fly generally begins to emerge about ten to fourteen days earlier than the cherry fruit fly. There are usually 10 days between the fly emergence and egg laying. During this period adults feed on aphid honeydew and other sources. The eggs hatch in about 4 days to one week and the maggots feed for about two weeks. When full grown, they drop to the ground and burrow into the soil. They pupate 1 to 2 inches beneath the soil surface. There is only one generation per year of each fly.

Monitoring

Monitor cherry fruit flies with yellow sticky cards hung in the trees in late May. Examine the traps twice a week to determine when adult emergence begins. Use the banding on the wing to distinguish between the species.

Control

Because the female flies insert the eggs beneath the skin of the fruit, the eggs and the larvae that emerge are protected from insecticides. Sprays need to target the adults before egg laying begins. Adults should be controlled 5 to 6 days after they emerge.

CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.

Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!

entomology.ca.uky.edu

Pest & Disease Control for Cherry Trees

As it grows, a cherry tree may experience issues caused by pests or diseases. Factors such as location, weather, and upkeep play a part in which issues your cherry tree encounters and how well it stands up against them. Disease-resistant cherry trees are easy-care options for growers who prefer a low-spray or no-spray orchard, and – for all cherry trees – routine maintenance* can help keep most problems at bay.

*Examples of good practices are: adequate watering, fertilizing only as needed, seasonal pruning, preventative and active spraying, fall cleanup and winter protection.

The following are merely intended as a means of identifying potential issues. Don’t be alarmed – a cherry tree may experience a few of these in its lifetime, but certainly not all at once.

NOTE: This is part 7 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow cherry trees , we recommend starting from the beginning.

Cherry Tree Pests

Aphids

Tiny, pinhead-sized insects, varying in color depending on the type. Will cluster on stems and under leaves, sucking plant juices.

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Symptoms: Leaves curl, thicken, yellow, and die. Aphids produce large amounts of a sticky residue called “honeydew” that attracts insects like ants. Honeydew also becomes a growth medium for sooty mold.

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Neem Oil
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Cherry Fruit Fly

Adults are similar in appearance to a housefly, but smaller. Larvae are yellowish-white grubs. Traps are an option for luring adults.

Symptoms: Small, pinpoint-sting marks visible on fruit surface. Eggs are laid under fruit skin. Hatched larvae tunnel, making railroad-like mining pattern.

  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew Garden Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Moths

Includes: Orange Tortrix, Oriental Fruit Moth, Codling Moth, Winter Moth, Western Tussock Moth, Cherry Scallop Shell Moth, etc.

Adults are moths that vary in size and appearance. Larvae are pinkish-white with a red-brown head, about ½-inch long. Pheromone traps are an option for luring moths.

Symptoms: Damage first appears on vegetative growth, and left untreated will eventually infest fruit. Larvae tunnel in through the stem and often exit near the pit.

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  • GardenTech® Sevin® Bug Killer
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew Garden Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Thuricide® BT

Borers

Includes: American plum borer, Pacific flatheaded borer, Peach twig borer, Peachtree borer, Shot hole borer

Adults are small brown beetles that may target the graft location (in young cherry trees) for laying eggs as well as damaged or sunken areas. Grubs have horseshoe-shaped heads and cream-colored bodies. Difficult to control once infested. Preventative spraying (including the ground around the roots) is a strong defense. Traps – in the form of tanglefoot-coated logs or posts that are later removed from the site and burned – are an option for luring adults.

Symptoms: A thick, gummy substance (sap) leaking from round holes on the trunk or in a crotch of the tree. Grubs tunnel through trunks, weakening and eventually killing the tree. Eggs hatch and larvae tunnel into tree’s vascular tissue.

  • If infested, use a fine wire to try to pierce, mash, or dig grubs out.
  • Traps (tanglefoot-coated logs or posts) can lure adults. Remove from site and burn after trapping.
  • Preventive spraying (including the ground around the roots)
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Contact local county Cooperative Extension for further advice

Japanese Beetle

Adult is a metallic-green beetle, which skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are cream-colored grubs that feed on turf roots prior to maturity. Turf pest-control may help reduce grub populations; check turf product labels for timing and control of grubs. Traps are an option for luring adult beetles.

Symptoms: Adults are often seen in groups – large infestations can cause stunted growth and stress by skeletonizing a majority of the leaves.

  • If infestation is minimal, knock Japanese beetles into a jar of soapy water solution (they will become immobile when frightened as a defense mechanism)
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Bug Killer
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew Garden Dust

Leafhopper

Small, active, slender-winged insect appearing in various colors. Usually found on undersides of leaves.

Symptoms: Slows new growth; leaves become whitened, stippled, or mottled. Leaf tips may wither and die. Prone to carrying diseases to and from plants and trees; damaged caused by leafhoppers may be greater than the feeding done directly by the insect.

Hand-removal of webbed foliage and keeping area free of weeds and debris may be enough to manage the pest.

  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Mites

Pinpoint-sized arthropods, appearing in many different colors depending on the type. Often found on undersides of leaves.

Symptoms: Sap feeding causes a bronze appearance in leaves. Severe infestations exhibit some silken webbing. Droughts or dry spells are advantageous for mite infestations.

  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Bug Killer
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Neem Oil
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Scale

Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16-inch) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers. May also be on fruit.

Symptoms: Sap feeding weakens the tree.

  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Bug Killer
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Neem Oil
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Tarnished Plant Bug

Yellowish-brown, winged insect that may have black spots or red stripes.

Symptoms: Damage is caused by injecting toxins into buds and shoots, causing stunted vegetative growth and sunken areas (or “cat facing”) on fruit.

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Neem Oil

Tent Caterpillar

Adults are moths. Caterpillars are a hairy, grayish brown with cream-colored spots or stripes down the back.

Symptoms: Encases large areas in webbing and feeds on enclosed leaves.

  • Remove webs with a rake (caterpillars are removed with webs) and burn.
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Thuricide® BT
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus

Thrips

Tiny, slender, fringed-wing insects ranging from 1/25-inch to 1/8-inch long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active. Adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black, or white markings.

Symptoms: Feeding occurs on vegetation by puncturing and sucking up the contents, causing appearance to be deformed or discolored (similar to damage by mites and lace bugs).

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Bug Killer
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew Garden Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Cherry Tree Diseases

Armillaria Root Rot

Also “oak root fungus”, “shoestring rot”, and «mushroom rot»

All stone-fruit rootstocks are susceptible to Armillaria root rot, which smells distinctly like mushrooms and occurs on the upper roots and/or crown of the tree. This destructive fungus lives within dead and living roots is transferred from root system to root system. It can live for up to 30 years.

Symptoms: Roots infected with Armillaria mellea have whitish-yellow fan-shaped mats between the bark and the wood. The tree trunk is girdled. Dull, yellowed, or wilted foliage is usually the first sign of trouble; infected trees usually die slowly.

Exposing an infected crown and upper root area of a cherry tree may help to slow its growth into the crown. In spring, remove soil from around the base of the tree to a depth of 9 to 12 inches. Leave the trunk exposed for the remainder of the growing season. During the spring, summer, and fall, keep the upper roots and crown area as dry as possible. Recheck the hole every few years to make sure it has not filled in with leaves, soil, and other matter; the hole must be kept open and the crown and upper roots exposed.

Botrytis Rot

Damage commonly occurs to stone fruit and their blossoms during a wet, cool season. It appears on ripening fruit as brown spots and becomes covered with light brown spores.

Symptoms: Appears similar to brown rot (below). Fungus will overwinter in the soil and in plant debris.

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  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Multi-Purpose Fungicide
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Neem Oil
  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Brown Rot

Includes: mummy rot and twig and blossom blight

Brown rot is a fungal disease that commonly affects stone-fruit trees, including cherry trees, especially after a long, warm, wet spring. It is one of the most common cherry-tree diseases. It affects the fruit tree’s flowers and fruit crop, but is not fatal. Fortunately, brown rot is easy to spot, prevent, and treat.

Symptoms: Blossoms turn brown and wither, but stay on the tree. Small sunken spots may appear at the base of infected blossoms, in the twig itself. Gummy brown “sap” may seep from these sunken areas. Leaves at the twig ends appear shriveled. Furry gray or beige mold forms on affected blossoms or twigs. The fungus rapidly spreads to the fruit.

Plant a resistant variety, like Stark® Gold™ Sweet Cherry in a well-drained location. Prune regularly to keep trees open to light and air circulation, and remove any pruning debris, damaged or diseased fruit and limbs, as well as fallen fruit to avoid sites for fungi to thrive (do not compost). Thin fruit to avoid good fruit touching infected fruit. Disinfect your pruners between cuts to avoid spreading the fungi.

  • Bonide® Captan Fruit & Ornamental
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Multi-Purpose Fungicide
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide

Spray preventatively if brown rot is problematic in your area, even before symptoms appear.

Buckskin (X-disease)

Buckskin disease is spread by some leafhopper species and is managed by planting disease-free stock, controlling weeds that host leafhoppers and removing leafhopper vectors and all diseased trees.

Symptoms: Diseased trees produce leathery, bumpy fruit that is pale in color, even at harvest-time. On Mahaleb rootstocks, trees rarely have fruit issues, but will suddenly droop above the graft union. Buckskin disease (also called “X-disease”) is caused by a phytoplasma organism in the cells of infected trees. Trees are usually infected in summer and fall, but will not show symptoms until the following year.

Prune off infected twigs and limbs where cankers have affected the branch.

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Cut out cankers that are less than half the branch circumference. Use a small, sharp knife and score the wood all the way around the canker, about an inch away from it. Dig the tip of the knife into the wood and bark as you work, and maintain a 1-inch margin around the circumference of the canker.

Slip the knife under the bark and remove the diseased inner bark, which is usually a rusty brown color. Round the edges of each incision to promote rapid healing, but do not remove the wood from the uninfected area below the canker.

Clean up any wood chips or debris and either burn it or dispose of it in the trash. Do not compost infected debris. Bleach the knife used to excise the canker, rinse and pat dry.

Apply fungicide spray to small wounds during wet periods and during dormant periods.

Canker (bacterial and cytospora)

Cytospora canker is caused by the fungus Cytospora spp. and attacks trees via weak or injured bark. Bacterial canker is caused by Pseudomonas syringae. Both tend to occur during cool, wet weather. They act and are treated similarly.

Symptoms: Infection appears as yellow-orange and black regions that later ooze a gummy substance which may have a foul odor. Cankers eventually develop in the branches, encompassing the circumference of the wood until it dies.

Prune off infected twigs and limbs where cankers have affected the branch.

Cut out cankers that are less than half the branch circumference. Use a small, sharp knife and score the wood all the way around the canker, about an inch away from it. Dig the tip of the knife into the wood and bark as you work, and maintain a 1-inch margin around the circumference of the canker.

Slip the knife under the bark and remove the diseased inner bark, which is usually a rusty brown color. Round the edges of each incision to promote rapid healing, but do not remove the wood from the uninfected area below the canker.

Clean up any wood chips or debris and either burn it or dispose of it in the trash. Do not compost infected debris. Bleach the knife used to excise the canker, rinse and pat dry.

Apply fungicide spray to small wounds during wet periods and during dormant periods.

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Multi-Purpose Fungicide
  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide
  • Bonide® Thuricide® BT
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Crown Gall

Caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens — a bacterium that inhabits the soil and causes rapid, abnormal growth (developing into galls). Can spread through injury to roots in the soil as well as through gardening tools carrying the bacterium.

Symptoms: Trees appear stunted and slow growing; leaves may be reduced in size. In mature, fruit-bearing aged trees, may see little or no fruit. Woody, tumor-like growths called galls appear, especially at the crown (ground level) and below. Growths can restrict water and nutrient flow, but often the damage isn’t extensive enough to cause immediate or total death. If tree has died, inspect roots for hard, woody ‘tumors’ to identify Crown Gall as the cause. Note: Crown Gall is not the only thing that can cause stunted trees.

  • Purchase gall-free nursery stock. Crown gall symptoms are generally well developed on finished nursery stock, making inspection a useful prevention strategy.
  • Contact local county Cooperative Extension agent for further advice

Phytophthora Root Rot and Crown Rot

Soil pathogens in the genus Phytophthora can cause crown and root rot diseases of almost all fruit and nut trees, as well as most ornamental trees and shrubs. This disease appears if the soil around the base of the tree remains wet for prolonged periods, or when the tree is planted too deeply.

Symptoms: Infected trees often wilt and die quick as soon as the weather warms up. Leaves may turn dull green, yellow, or even red or purplish. Symptoms may develop first on one branch then spread to the rest of the tree. Dark areas appear in the bark around the crown and upper roots. Gummy sap may ooze from the diseased trunk. Reddish-brown areas may show between the bark and wood.

Good water management/drainage is the key to prevention. Never cover the graft union with soil and try to avoid direct watering of the crown. If you suspect crown rot, carefully cut away affected bark at the soil line. Trees can sometimes be saved by removing soil from the base of the tree down to the upper roots and allowing the crown tissue to dry out.

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Multi-Purpose Fungicide

Powdery Mildew

Caused by Podosphaera leucotricha — a fungus that overwinters in buds and emerges during humid, warm weather progressively throughout the growing season.

Symptoms: Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt-like patches on buds, young leaves, and twigs. Leaves may crinkle and curl upward. New shoots are stunted.

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Multi-Purpose Fungicide
  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust
  • Bonide® Neem Oil
  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Monterey Fruit Tree Spray Plus
  • Monterey Horticultural Oil

Other Cherry Tree Issues

No Blossoms or Fruit

Sweet cherry trees take about 4 to 7 years after planting (on average) before they bloom or bear fruit. Pie/Sour/Tart cherry trees bear a little sooner, within 3 to 5 years after planting. If enough time has been allowed to pass, and the cherry tree is otherwise healthy, there are a few things to do to help it become fruitful.

  • Make sure a pollinator variety is present. Most cherry trees require another different variety of cherry tree to be fruitful. Note: Sweet cherry trees and Pie/Sour/Tart cherry trees are not reliable pollinator for one another.
  • Make sure your cherry tree variety is recommended for your zone. Low winter temperatures can injure sensitive fruit buds and blossoms, hindering fruit production.
  • Space trees far enough apart to help avoid nutrient or light competition. Adequate space encourages a healthy and productive tree. Spacing can be estimated by the mature spread of the tree.
  • Prune to help keep the fruiting wood and vegetative wood in balance so that there isn’t too much leaf development in lieu of blossom development in mature trees — or too much fruit-bud development and not enough leaves to “feed” the fruit.
  • Know your soil. Soil conditions, and the presence of necessary nutrients, help keep a cherry tree’s roots supplying nutrients through its vascular system. If the soil is poor, or poorly drained, this affects the health and viability of the tree as a whole. If the tree is being over-fertilized, especially with a fertilizer high in nitrogen, it may develop lush, vegetative growth (leaves and branches) instead of developing fruit buds or blooming.

Sunscald and Sunburn (Scorching)

Sunscald/sunburn occurs during hot, dry growing seasons — with or without humidity in the air, but most commonly when humidity is low. Sunscald is also called winter injury or “southwest injury” as it commonly affects the southwest side of tree trunks during winter. Brown, crispy edges appear on leaves. Warm, clear days cause bark to expand and nights that are several degrees cooler will cause the bark to contract, damaging cells and causing splits and cracks in the trunk.

  • Protect trunks prior to winter with tree guards or a diluted solution of water and white latex paint (50/50).
  • Water new trees every 7 to 10 days during the growing season (if there is no rain within the week), or as needed (as the soil becomes dry to the touch).
  • During the growing season, consider constructing a temporary shade cloth to protect trees from the sun on hot, dry days. Water as needed (see above).

Water Stress

Can be caused by both overwatering and underwatering. Overwatering commonly presents as pale green to yellow leaves and leaf drop, which can weaken a tree, lead to root rot, and ultimately kill the tree. Underwatering often presents as discolored (usually yellowed), dry leaves. Tree may appear to wilt overall. Prolonged lack of water can kill the tree.

  • Water new trees every 7 to 10 days during the growing season (if there is no rain within the week) or as needed (as the soil becomes dry to the touch).
  • If planted in a location where the soil does not adequately drain water after heavy rains (leading to standing water), relocate the tree as soon as possible.
  • If drought-like conditions persist, consider slow-trickle drip irrigation to allow water to reach the roots rather than wash over soil surface.

Wind Injury

Symptoms: Can involve injury such as leaning/uprooted trees, breaks, tears, or wind-burned foliage. Depending on the severity of the injury, a cherry tree can either bounce back from minor damage or succumb to the wind-caused harm. This is determined on an individual basis and the health of the tree before the damage occurred.

  • Adequately tamp soil around the tree’s roots (and thoroughly water) at planting time to remove air pockets and ensure good contact with the soil. Air pockets and loose soil around the roots can cause the tree to rock easily, leaving it vulnerable to leaning or uprooting.
  • Use tree stakes for new trees, dwarf trees, and trees planted in high-wind areas to help support upright growth and avoid leaning, uprooting, and breaking.
  • Selectively thin fruit that may be weighing down limbs to reduce stress from the weight, and avoid tears or breaks during gusty weather. Be aware: pests and disease may also take advantage of resulting broken or torn areas if damage occurs.

If tender new foliage is blown or whipped around by the wind, it may appear discolored (dark — like a burn or bruise). Damaged leaves can be removed to encourage healthy, new growth.

www.starkbros.com

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