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 3 year old cherry dies suddenly 
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:59 am
Posts: 15
Location: NC
Post 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
This is a Montmorency on Gisela 5. It was from Raintree Nursery. I planted it in April 2008. It fruited in 2009 and this year. Grew beautifully. I kept it pruned to a nice shape. It looked very healthy.
In early August it began to have yellowing leaves in the lower canopy. I noticed this right before our summer vacation. I thought it might be heat stress. When we returned a week later, the entire lower half was dead and there were a few leaves trying to hang on in the upper canopy. Two days later, the entire tree was toast.
Whatever killed it was very sudden.
I did notice some amber ooze near the bottom of the trunk but could see no signs of boring, etc.
Would love to know what killed this tree.
Thomis

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~Thomis~
Pennsylvania-Dutch by culture
German by blood
Scotch-Irish by temperament
Naturalist by hobby and profession


Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:08 am
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:24 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Sublimity, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
The following is from "The Home Orchard - growing your own deciduous fruit and nut trees" (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication 3485).

Bacterial canker and blast are caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae. The canker phase of the disease is most common in stone fruits and seldom seen in apples or pears. Symptoms appear in late winter and early spring. Cankers begin as irregularly shaped, water- or gum-soaked areas of the bark or trunks, but may grow to girdle and kill entire branches or trunks. Reddish flecking around canker margins distinguish these cankers from those caused by other pathogens. Infected trees have a distinct sour or vinegary odor, and young trees are most severely affected. (p. 172)

An amber gummy ooze is very characteristic of this problem. A likely vector in your area are the native wild cherry trees (Prunus serotina). Your local Extension Service office will have suggestions appropriate to your area regarding treatments that might control the disease.

I am having a devil of a time dealing with this on my plum trees here in Orygun where the local wild cherry (P. emarginata) is a vector. Personally, I think that the increasing problems of things like this are yet another indication of global climate change and provide insight into the types of difficulties we will be facing as global temperatures continue to increase and atmospheric gas proportions change.


Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:53 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:59 am
Posts: 15
Location: NC
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
LeeN-
Thanks for your response and for providing the info. I will try another Montmorency on a different rootstock. Hopefully it won't happen again. Someone in my region also has problems with cherries (tarts) on Gisela 5 but not the SD stocks like Mahaleb or Mazzard.

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~Thomis~
Pennsylvania-Dutch by culture
German by blood
Scotch-Irish by temperament
Naturalist by hobby and profession


Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:54 pm
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:24 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Sublimity, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
The second sentence (from the end of the above citation) states:

"Bacterial canker does not affect roots, so suckering at the rootstock in late spring and summer is a typical symptom on trees that have died aboveground in winter and early spring."

Further: "Pseudomonas syringae bacteria are always present on the surfaces of plants. The bacteria invade trees when the right combination of favorable conditions occurs."

Also: "Management of bacterial canker must rely on cultural practices. Fungicides and bactericides are not effective. Healthy, vigorous trees suffer less damage from bacterial canker. Choosing your planting site carefully, avoiding sites with a history of bacterial canker. Trees grown on sandy, shallow, hardpan, acidic (pH below 5.5), or nitrogen-deficient soils are most susceptible. The presence of ring nematodes in the soil may also predispose trees to infection."

I don't want to come off as being "preach-ie", but I believe that the bacterial canker problems I am experiencing is somehow related to atypical weather conditons (ie. climate change/global warming). This concept is alluded to in the above statement ". . .when the right combination of favorable conditions occurs."

It seems to me that for most Americans (unless they are a New Orleanian or Mississippi Gulf Coast resident) have nothing specific in their lives that they can regard as a direct consequence of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Global warming is instead some theoretical concept associated with the polar ice cap melting or some other news report not related to one's day to day existence.

However as global temperatures increase (both creating higher temperature extremes and a longer growing season) it is very obvious that "cold-blooded" organisms will be more active. Thus bacteria will be more active and potentially more aggressive and their impact significantly greater. Trees conversely with their longer life span will be less likely to adapt to immediate changes relating to the severity of bacterial, nematode or insect infectations.

It may be that the death of your cherry tree is a first instance of a directly applicable instance of global warming impacting your specific life -- to the point that the option to have a cherry tree on your property (as your ancestors were able to do) may not be available to you. If this is actually the case, then the issue at hand is: 'what have you done/what will you now do to reduce your activities that contribute to climate changing emissions?'.


Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:27 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
The yellowing of leaves is associated with nitrogen deficiency, which the article also mentioned. Maybe we'll have to watch our plants more closely to prevent problems. I do think this is another situation where keeping your plants healthy by doing all the helpful things: adding organic material to the soil, keeping the soil food web active, pruning at the right time, etc.
John S
PDX OR


Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:30 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:59 am
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Location: NC
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
you absolutely lost me with that last rant

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~Thomis~
Pennsylvania-Dutch by culture
German by blood
Scotch-Irish by temperament
Naturalist by hobby and profession


Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:21 am
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:24 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Sublimity, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
Global temperatures are increasing as are atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases.

What will be the first manifestations be on individuals' (your) lives ? ? ? Or will you somehow be immune from those changing conditions? What is the government and agricultural specialists telling us to do so that we can adequately prepare?

Climate changes (even localized conditions) may have little effect of annual crops but for orchards, it takes approximately a decade before a fruit tree becomes fully productive. If a bareroot or young tree is more vunerable to disease and insect infestations exacerbated by increased average daily temperatures and a longer "growing season" (earlier spring, later fall, shorter/less severe winter), then tree planting fatality levels may likewise increase. As changes become more pronounced, how will older, established fruit trees be affected by conditions that cause more severe disease and insect problems?

I believe that the problematic conditions I am having with bacterial canker infections on my plum trees is partially attributable to atypical weather conditons in my location (as well as bloom period and fruit set). My plum trees are seven years old so that if they succumb and I attempt to replace them it will be many years before I will obtain fruit AND the replacements could potentially die as well. That's a lot of wasted years and effort.

I do not know the answers (to addressing the issue of baterial canker or how we will be able to adapt to a changing global climate) but it could be that both you and me are seeing an early manifestation of global warming such that we may not be able to plant and grow certain types of fruit trees. This makes global warming not some theoretical concept but something real that directly affects our lives.

I raise it as an issue because I wonder if others are thinking about climate change vis a vis their fruit trees, and overall regarding fruit as an important food source.


Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:03 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
Posts: 143
Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
It froze here the 15th of June and the weather man is predicting it is going to freeze this week (August).

I keep wondering where this global warming is that they keep promising me.

There's been nothing unusual in the weather in my area. The weather has always been all over the board and that's what it is still doing.


Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:44 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly/Global warming
Scientists have measured migrations of birds over the years. They have been very steadily moving northward, which affects our pollination and insect populations. Some pests that have never bothered northern areas are now becoming huge problems, because they just don't get that cold anymore. My native red flowering currant plants have been killed to the ground, even though they were being watered. I think there is something going on. We are currently having the driest August since 1998.

It's much worse for people who live in Pacific Island nations, whose land is now regularly covered in salt water. Because they can't grow food like coconuts or get fresh water to drink anymore, they can't live there, and they've had to find new countries to live in. Large sections of California are losing their prime wine-growing grape areas, because you can't grow fine wine in areas that have many days over 95 degrees.

On the positive side, maybe we'll grow more pomegranates, palms, pecans and pistachios. Perhaps some plants that don't start with the letter p.
John S
PDX OR


Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:27 am
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:24 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Sublimity, OR
Post Re: 3 year old cherry dies suddenly
Given a choice I would rather grow Pears and Plums instead of pomegranates; and since native Americans grew pecans in Wisconsin, I think I could grow them here in Oregon (if I were to wait 15 to 20 years for the trees to mature).

For me plums and pears are the entire issue -- I got no plums this year but instead lots and lots of bacterial canker. Regarding my pears -- early this Spring on one tree it looked like (from a distance) all the lower branches were defoliated by deer browse so I did not investigate as thoroughly as I should've. It was caterpillar instead. About tens days later, these same caterpillar, with almost surgical precision, ate through the stems of the newly set pears right where the stem meets the spur. In less than two days, ALL the little pears were on the ground beneath the tree. The Spring was so wet that the rain almost immediately washed off or diluted the pesticides I tried to apply to combat the infestation (both contact and BT types). My pear crop is pitifully almost non-existant.

The Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook I referenced at the local library indicated that California Pear Sawfly (Pristophora abbreviata) is only a "minor" problem. If there is a 5% increase in the over-wintering survival rate of any insect species associated with climate change, the consequences could be dire given their reproductive capacity. If there is an associated decrease in the insect's normal predators (where are the wrens?), or because the insect has migrated to different, "new" habitat with no natural predators -- ????

If I was dependent on those plums and pears to pay the mortgage, I could potentially lose the farm; if I was dependent on those plums and pears for food, I would get real hungry. The insect infestations I am having on my veggies is something else again but beyond the scope of this site.

I apologize for hijacking this thread, but I do believe we are beginning to see the first problems of global climate change at the local and personal level. It seems that there has been very little thought given to R&D or information distribution for coping/problem solving. SCARY !


Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:05 pm
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