Cherries With Brown Rot: Controlling Cherry Brown Rot Symptoms

Cherries With Brown Rot: Controlling Cherry Brown Rot Symptoms

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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Brown rot in cherry trees is a serious fungal disease that infects stems, blossoms and fruit. It may also infect ornamental cherry trees. This nasty fungus, which also affects apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines, reproduces quickly and can soon reach epidemic proportions. Controlling cherry brown rot isn’t easy and requires careful attention to sanitation and timely application of certain fungicides. Read on to learn more about cherry brown rot treatment.

Symptoms of Cherries with Brown Rot

The first symptoms of cherries with brown rot are browning of blossoms and small brown spots on ripening fruit, followed by death of small twigs. Infected blossoms often drop off the tree and gummy cankers appear on twigs between healthy and diseased areas. Fruit remaining on the tree may become mummified.

The spores spread in damp weather, when you may see clumps powdery, brownish-gray spores on infected flowers and fruit.

Controlling Cherry Brown Rot Treatment

Here are some tips for the management of brown rot in cherry trees in the landscape:

Sanitation: Pick up fallen fruit around the tree and rake all other plant debris to decrease the number of spores. Remove any mummified cherries that remain on the tree in early spring.

Pruning: When pruning cherry trees in winter, remove any twigs that have died as a result of brown rot. Prune all branches with cankers.

Fungicides: If signs of brown rot appear after sanitation and pruning, a fungicide may prevent infection. Brown rot in cherry trees must be sprayed with fungicides at two separate times, as follows:

  • Spray fungicides for brown rot in cherry trees when blossoms first begin to open. Repeat according to label recommendations until the petals drop.
  • Spray the trees when fruit is ripening, generally two to three weeks before harvest. Repeat according to label recommendations until the fruit is harvested.

Use only fungicides labeled for the particular type of tree. Some products are safe to use on ornamental cherries but unsafe for edible cherries. Also, products registered for use on peaches or plums may not be safe or effective for controlling cherry brown rot.

Fungicides for cherry brown rot treatment will be more effective if you continue proper sanitation and pruning.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Cherry Trees

At this point we are not sure of what you are dealing with on your cherry tree. It would be helpful to send photos of the whole tree and affected branches. Perhaps a family member can help you reduce your photo size of the files. You also have the option of having an onsite diagnosis by a certified arborist regarding the health of your tree.
Cherry trees can be susceptible to cherry shot hole fungus and brown rot, both fungal diseases.
Cherry shot hole - You may notice yellow leaves with reddish brown spots. The fungus overwinters on fallen leaves, and good control can be achieved by raking and removing all cherry leaves from the planting area. No chemical control is recommended.

Brown rot - The last several years we have been getting reports of a fungal disease on ornamental cherries especially Kwanzan called brown rot. This can occur in the spring during wet weather. Leaves on infected shoots turn brown and wither, but remain attached. Was the foliage brown during the spring and summer? See the attached link on brown rot

Without a photo we cannot be sure of what you are referring to. You mentioned the branches were rotting. Branch dieback can be due to possible borers or fungus. You will have to look for this. Look along the trunk or branches for sawdust, sap, holes, or dead sunken wood. If in branches, all you can do is prune back to healthy wood. If the main trunk is affected. All you can do is keep the tree well watered during dry periods. See the attached link

If the branches and trunk look fine, then you may be dealing with a leaf spot disease. All you can do is rake fallen leaves to prevent overwintering spores. No chemical control is recommended.

Brown Rot Blossom Blight

Brown Rot Blossom Blight is a common and potentially destructive disease of stone fruit trees, including cherry, plum and peach trees, as well as ornamental flowering trees such as weeping cherry and flowering plum trees.

When a tree is infected with Brown Rot Blossom Blight the disease symptoms will begin to appear in the spring shortly after blossoming. Diseased flowers wilt, turn brown and are covered with masses of spores. As the disease progresses it can spread to twigs and small branches which will begin to die back. When the branches become infected, often a sticky or gummy sap substance will be seen on the branches.

Brown Rot Blossom Blight is caused by a fungus that over-winters on the tree’s bark and will attack blossoms, leaves, branches and fruit.

Watch the video: European brown rot succeptibility on tart cherry - Montmorency vs Balaton


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