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6 Reasons for Cherry Tree Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown

6 Reasons for Cherry Tree Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown

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Cherry trees bring so much charm to your property, and you likely want to ensure that they continue to do so for a long time. You love your cherry tree, and you want to do your best to take care of it.

This is why it’s going to be alarming if your cherry tree’s leaves start changing when they aren’t supposed to. Some people have noted that cherry tree leaves will turn yellow or brown unexpectedly, and it’s normal to be worried about this.

What would cause your cherry tree’s leaves to turn yellow or brown? Is there something that you’re doing wrong that needs to be remedied?

Keep reading to get all of the information about why cherry tree leaves might turn yellow or brown. Once you know more about what’s going on, it’ll be easier to figure out how best to proceed for the health of the cherry tree.

1 – Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves and brown leaves are going to be two separate problems in most instances. It’s good to start by looking at the different things that can cause cherry tree leaves to turn yellow.

There are quite a few things that can cause this to happen. Hopefully, after reading through the potential causes, you’ll be able to determine what is going on with your cherry tree.

Once you’ve identified the specific problem that you’re experiencing, it’ll be easier to understand your options. This is a problem that you must take seriously, but it’s important not to fret so that you can learn and make wise decisions to try to save your cherry tree.

2 – Armillaria Root Rot

Armarillia Root Rot In A Cherry Tree

Armillaria root rot is a type of fungal disease that can quickly harm a cherry tree. It stunts the growth of cherry trees and causes their leaves to turn yellow before dropping off of the branches.

Sometimes this fungal disease will progress slowly, though, and this might cause cherry trees to show their autumn colors much earlier than normal. Many cherry trees that become infected this way will wind up dying, but it is possible to save them in some instances.

If the disease hasn’t managed to encircle half of the crown yet, then you might be able to push the soil that is around the crown away. This can help you to air out the crown and it’ll allow it to dry properly.

You’ll need to try to remove the tissue and bark that has been infected. Trees that have more than half of the crown infected should just be removed entirely.

It might seem like a shame to have to do this, but sometimes there won’t be another option. If the infection has progressed too far, then saving the tree is just likely not going to be possible.

3 – Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot

Phytophthora is a fungal pathogen that is known to cause root and crown rot in cherry trees. You might not notice any symptoms at first, but the first signs often involve the tree getting injured during the winter or becoming damaged by rodents in some way.

During the warm months, cherry trees that are infected will start to experience rapid problems. The leaves will begin to change in color, and they can be either purple, yellow, or red depending on various factors.

It’s possible that the infected cherry tree could die fast, but some will hang on for years before ultimately succumbing. Sometimes sap will leak out of the trunk of the cherry tree that looks particularly gummy and dark.

The best thing to do is to try to prevent an infection such as this from occurring. You want to plant your cherry trees in soil that drains well to keep Phytophthora from being able to thrive.

If you notice signs of infection early, then you can try to remove the soil near the base and roots of the tree. This could help the crown to dry out, and it might keep the cherry tree from dying due to infection.

4 – Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is one of the most likely causes of yellowing in cherry tree leaves. It’s a type of infection that is going to spread upward over time.

This infection can kill branches and twigs on your cherry tree. You’ll see the yellow leaves on the cherry tree start to drop, and the cherry tree will likely be left with only its top leaves.

Sometimes this fungal disease will only attack one side of a cherry tree, though. This type of fungal wilt is caused by infected soil.

To keep verticillium wilt from being a problem, it’s going to be imperative to pay close attention to the soil that you’re using. You need to do your best to plant your cherry trees in good soil, and you’ll also need to regularly remove weeds while maintaining good watering habits.

5 – Cherry Leaf Spot

Cherry Leaf Spot Can Ruin Your Cherry Tree

Cherry leaf spot is a common fungal issue that impacts cherry trees, and it’s an odd type of thing that can cause both yellowing and browning leaves. It’s caused by a fungus known as Blumeriella jaapii, and the spots usually show up on the foliage of the tree.

It’s also possible for spots to impact the stem of the cherry tree as well as the fruit. Generally, the first symptoms that you will notice when this occurs will be small purple spots appearing on the leaves.

These spots will show up on the tops of the leaves and will eventually turn brown. Over time, a hole will appear in the leaves and older leaves will turn yellow before dropping from the branches.

It’s possible that a cherry tree could lose all its leaves due to cherry leaf spot. This can be prevented by applying fungicide to the cherry tree at specific times of the year, though.

6 – Improper Care

It’s also possible that improper care can cause cherry tree leaves to turn brown. As you might expect, cherry trees are going to require a certain amount of water to thrive.

If you aren’t giving the cherry tree enough water and if it isn’t planted in good soil, then you could encounter some issues with wilting and leaf discoloration. However, the most common cause of leaf browning in cherry trees will be the aforementioned cherry leaf spot disease.

The best thing that you can do to protect your cherry tree is to be sure that you’re caring for it to the best of your ability. Healthy cherry trees will be much more likely to be able to survive diseases such as cherry leaf spot.

You want to make sure that you’re giving your cherry tree the right conditions to thrive. Cherry trees should be planted somewhere that they will be able to receive full sunlight for the best growth.

You can also try to plant the cherry tree somewhere that it will be protected from the wind. An abundance of wind could damage a cherry tree depending on other factors.

On top of all of this, you’re going to need to pay close attention to the soil that you’re using. It’s crucial to use well-draining soil to keep fungal infections from becoming a big issue.

Remember that very wet and very dry conditions can be bad for cherry trees. Keep an eye on your cherry tree and try to ensure that it is getting the right amount of water.

Applications of certain fungicides might help you out if you’re worried about the cherry tree. Prevention is always preferable over trying to scramble to save a cherry tree that has been infected.

Final Thoughts

There are quite a few reasons why your cherry tree’s leaves might turn yellow or brown. The vast majority of these reasons have to do with fungal infections that can potentially kill cherry trees.

You’re going to need to take the risk of fungal infection very seriously if you wish for your cherry trees to thrive. Prevention is mostly about ensuring that you take care of the cherry tree as best you can, but sometimes it might be wise to use fungicides on cherry trees to be safe.

It’s possible that your tree might be too infected to be saved depending on the type of infection that it has and how far it has progressed. You’ll need to figure out which specific infection type you’re dealing with and then assess the state of the cherry tree to determine how to proceed.

Now that you know more about cherry trees and the potential for fungal infection, you can work to keep this from happening again. Even if you need to get rid of your cherry tree, it’ll be possible to get better results with the next cherry tree that you decide to plant.

Don’t let this issue keep you from wanting to plant cherry trees in your yard. These trees are fantastic and you can care for them very well so long as you’re willing to be vigilant.

Many people make mistakes when they aren’t used to caring for cherry trees, and this can sometimes lead to complications such as this. The important thing is to learn from mistakes and be ready to make better decisions in the future.

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Phil brackins

Monday 20th of June 2022

We have a non fruit bearing cherry tree that is 18 years old. We trimmed all limbs back about 40% this past winter. This spring leaves were growing on base of the limbs and seemed fine. The leaves started dropping in June and are dying. What do s the problem and what can I do ?


Tuesday 20th of July 2021

You describe WHAT could be wrong when cherry tree leaves turn brown, but you don’t say exactly WHAT PRODUCT to use to turn it around! I already knew it was probably a fungus of some type, but there are so many products on the market. I was hoping to see the name of the best product to spray with!