Pest Disease Qa


Article by David Marks
Our main cherry tree and disease article can be found here. But sometimes our readers ask specific questions which are not covered in the main article. This page lists their comments, questions and answers. At the end of this page there is also a form for you to submit any new question or comment you have.


Date: 03 July 2020 From: Peter M
QUESTION: In the autumn of 2016 I planted a Sunburst cherry tree. It is on a Colt rootstock. Each spring it produces leaves and flowers, and sets a small amount of fruit, but no new shoots atall. Now in its fourth year, it is no bigger than when I planted it! I’m guessing there must be a problem with the roots and I’m tempted, later in the year, to dig down and inspect them. Would you think this a good plan, or could you advise, please, if you think not.

ANSWER: Colt rootstock has been around for more than 40 years and normally produces a tree of around 3m high.It has two weaknesses. First it does not tolerate drought well. Second, it is not suitable for colder parts of the UK.

Drought can be helped by watering the tree heavily in spring (if the rainfall has not been heavy) and then mulching heavily with organic matter such as woodchip, shredded bark etc. Mulch to a depth of 8cm or more but keep the mulch clear from the stem.

If you live in a particularly cold part of the UK there is not much you can do about it.

The page below has a section on it about cherry tree rootstocks which may help more.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to dig around the roots to see if there is a problem. The tree sounds healthy, just not growing strongly.


Date: 20 March 2019 From: Pam N
QUESTION: For the last two years every cherry on my tree had an insect larva which was injected at the very base of the fruit (opposite the stalk end). Is this likely to be the drosophila?

ANSWER: It almost certainly is drosophila. I think the fact that the majority of the entry points, in your case, is on the base of the fruit is a red herring. That could be because the flies are flying in from one particular direction.


Date: 01 August 2018 From: Carole N
QUESTION: I have a cherry bush (planted this year) it looks healthy shiny dark green leaves but something is eating them and leaving holes which then look like net curtains, there are no signs of insects though.

ANSWER: It sounds very much like advanced Shot Hole. See this page here which refers to plum trees but the disease is the same for cherry trees.


Date: 10 June 2018 From: Not Given
QUESTION: Can anyone tell me what sort of disease is this and what should I do to treat it? I will attach a picture of my cherry tree.

ANSWER: The picture you supplied identify this bug as Black Cherry Tree aphid, I have added a section above about it, click here.


Date: 26 May 2018 From: Martin D
QUESTION: I have a cherry tree in my garden (moved in here 4 years ago) it has always looked healthy and provided a good crop of cherries each year. This year it developed buds, then appeared to stop. The buds are still in place, unopened and very dry. They will come away from the tree very easily. Cant seem to find out what is the problem and hoping you can advise,

ANSWER: My guess is that either you live in a colder part of the UK or the cherry tree variety you have, flowers early in the year. It seems that a late frost has damaged the flowers and most of them have failed. The cold weather in March and April has affected many fruit trees in this manner, especially cherry trees. Live in hope for a more reasonable spring next year is all the advice I can give.


Date: 5 February 2017 From: Gary
QUESTION: I have a Stella Cherry tree, maybe 5 to 7 years old, for the last 2 years approximately half the fruit have turned yellow and brown at pea size then fallen.

ANSWER: I have added a new section to this page about the problem you describe, it can be found here. In your case where only 50% of the fruit drops there is little you can do about it. It is likely that the tree will resume normal fruit production soon.


Date: 24 July 2016 From: Jacqueline W
QUESTION: I have a very young cherry Tree and the leafs have marks on them like an invisible worm may have crawled all over the leafs, but i can’t find any insects. What can this be?

ANSWER: This sounds very much like a cherry tree leaf borer. The larvae bury themselves under the surface of the leaves and then eat their way around. Typically the damage is seen as wiggly lines but sometimes the larvae just go round in circles and the damage appears as a more solid mark.

There are no longer any chemicals available in the UK to treat this pest. The solution is to pick off damaged leaves and dispose of them (not on the compost heap). Pick up all fallen leaves and do the same.

The larvae overwinter just under the ground surface so raking over the surrounding soil in late autumn and late winter will disturb and disrupt their life cycle. Some may also be exposed and eaten by birds.


Date: 30 July 2015 From: Jen D
QUESTION: My neighbour has a large cherry tree growing near our fence. It is at least 25ft tall and the roots show up in our garden near our house. It’s about 10 foot from the house wall. Can it damage the house foundations? Any advice on what we can do would be appreciated.

ANSWER: The answer is simple, a cheery tree of that size, that near your house can do serious damage. The roots themselves can break into cracks in the foundations. In dry weather particularly, they suck up huge amounts of moisture which can do even more damage to your house. Cherry trees of that height have large roots which spread.

Discuss the tree with your neighbour. Whatever the result of those discussions, you need to consult a qualified tree surgeon and get their opinion.