Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cherry Leaf Spot

How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Cherry Leaf Spot

What is Cherry Leaf Spot?

Cherry leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects cherry trees, causing spots on the leaves and eventually defoliation if left untreated.

The disease primarily affects cherry trees as well as other stone fruit trees such as plums, peaches, and apricots.

What Causes Cherry Leaf Spot?

Cherry leaf spot is caused by the fungus Blumeriella jaapii. It overwinters on infected leaves and fruit that have fallen to the ground and releases spores in the spring when temperatures and moisture levels are high. These spores can then infect new leaves and fruits, leading to the development of cherry leaf spot disease.

What are the Symptoms?

Cherry leaf spot can be identified through the following symptoms:

  • Small purple spots on the upper surface of the leaves, which gradually turn brown or gray as they enlarge.
  • Leaves may turn yellow or fall prematurely in severe cases.
  • Black spots may appear on fruit or stems.
  • Infected leaves may be distorted, have a crinkled appearance or be smaller in size than healthy leaves.
  • Over time, the spots on the leaves may coalesce, leading to the death of the infected tissue.

How to Control and Prevent Cherry Leaf Spot?

Here are some ways to control and prevent cherry leaf spot:

  1. Choose resistant varieties: When selecting cherry tree varieties, consider those that are resistant to cherry leaf spot, such as the Montmorency tart cherry.

  2. Practice good sanitation: Remove and destroy any infected leaves, branches, or fruit as soon as you see them. This will help to prevent the spread of the disease.

  3. Water the soil, not the leaves: Avoid watering the foliage of the tree, as this can promote the growth of the fungus.

  4. Provide good air circulation: Prune the tree to promote good air circulation, which will help to keep the leaves dry and reduce the risk of infection.

  5. Mulch the soil: Mulching the soil around the base of the tree can help to retain moisture and prevent the growth of weeds, which can harbor the fungus.

  6. Monitor your tree: Regularly monitor your cherry tree for signs of cherry leaf spot, and take action as soon as you see them to prevent the spread of the disease.

  7. Apply fungicides: Apply a fungicide in the spring when the tree begins to bud, and continue to apply it at regular intervals throughout the growing season. Copper-based fungicides are effective in controlling cherry leaf spot.

By following these steps, you can control and prevent cherry leaf spot and keep your cherry tree healthy and productive.


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