Cherry Tree Bark Disease: What Are The Causes And Treatments?

Cherry trees, with their luscious fruits and picturesque blossoms, are a symbol of beauty and delight. However, lurking beneath their charm is a hidden adversary – Cherry tree bark disease.

This silent menace can gradually weaken and devastate these magnificent trees, seriously threatening their existence.

Together, let’s explore the intricacies of common cherry tree diseases, from their origins to their destructive impact, in this informative guide.

5 Common Cherry Tree Bark Disease

cherry tree bark disease

Common cherry tree bark diseases include Cytospora canker (fungal, sunken cankers), Nectria canker, bacterial canker (Pseudomonas infection), gummosis, and powdery mildew (fungal, white powdery growth).

Cytospora Canker

Cytospora canker is one of the fungal diseases of cherry trees, caused by various Cytospora fungus species.

This disease typically appears as sunken cankers on the tree’s bark, often near wounds, pruning cuts, or branch crotches. These cankers may be discolored and may ooze resin or sap.

As the disease progresses, it can encircle branches, leading to dieback and weakening of the infected tree.

Moreover, the fungus on cherry tree tends to be more prevalent during periods of stress, such as drought or cold winter injury.

Nectria Canker

Nectria canker is another fungal infection that affects sour cherry trees, particularly those that are weakened or stressed.

This disease typically manifests as raised, reddish-brown cankers on the tree’s bark, often near wounds or damaged areas. These cankers may have a rough, irregular appearance.

While the disease can impact healthy trees, it is more common in susceptible plants already experiencing stress, such as drought or injury.

It’s essential to detect and manage this disease promptly to prevent further damage to the stone fruit tree.

Bacterial Canker

One of the cherry blossom tree diseases, the bacterial canker derives from the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae.

It is particularly problematic in highly humid conditions, such as wet and rainy weather. The formation of seeping sores or spots on the bark of cherry trees is one of the signs of bacterial canker.

These bacterial canker pathogens frequently look damp and black and may exude bacterial exudate.

Additionally, bacterial canker can cause cherry tree branch dieback and compromised plant health in extreme circumstances.


Although it is not a specific cherry tree disease, Gummosis is a physiological response by infested trees and other fruit plants to stress factors.

You can easily notice the oozing of sap or gum from wounds, injuries, or affected areas on the tree’s bark. While gummosis is not a disease, it indicates an underlying problem or stress.

Various stressors, including fungal or severe infections, mechanical injuries, extreme weather conditions, or poor tree health, can give rise to gummosis.

Powdery Mildew

What’s wrong with my cherry tree? Powdery mildew is a common bacterial disease affecting Asian cherry fruit trees, fruitless plum trees, and many other plants.

Various species of powdery mildew fungi cause it, primarily targeting the leaves, stems, and sometimes the fruit of entire trees.

Additionally, this common disease thrives in conditions of high humidity and moderate temperatures. It can spread rapidly during warm, dry days and cool, humid nights.

Key characteristics of powdery mildew include:

  • White Powdery Growth: The disease manifests as a white, powdery, or dusty substance on the surface of the affected plant parts, resembling talcum powder.
  • Reduced Photosynthesis: The powdery growth can cover leaf surfaces, impairing photosynthesis, which is essential for the tree’s energy production.
  • Fruit Quality Impact: Powdery mildew can negatively affect fruit quality and yield on fruit-bearing trees like sour cherries.

How To Treat These Problems?

How To Treat These Problems

Proper Pruning Techniques

Pruning diseased cherry blossom trees in the right way is crucial for their well-being. It’s best to do this during their dormant season to reduce stress.

Ensure you use sharp, clean pruning tools for precise cuts. When you prune, focus on removing dead, diseased, or injured branches while keeping the collar intact.

Avoid over-pruning to prevent stressing the tree unnecessarily.

Removal of Infected Material

To deal with gummosis, identify and cut out oozing or damaged bark sections, trimming them to healthy tissue.

In the case of powdery mildew, prune infected branches with severe infections, and don’t forget to remove affected leaves and dead branches.

Remember to sanitize your pruning equipment after each cut to prevent pathogen transfer.

Additionally, keep a close eye on the ornamental cherry tree, regularly checking for new signs of infection and dealing with them promptly through pruning and removal to maintain the tree’s overall health.

Drainage Management

Managing proper drainage is vital in preventing the risk of infection. Ensure the soil around your healthy cherry trees drains well to avoid waterlogging and nutrient deficiencies.

Also, appropriate grading and avoiding low-lying areas can redirect the excess flow of water away from the roots of cherry trees. In areas with persistent issues, consider installing drainage systems like French drains.

Finally, maintaining the air circulation from tree to tree and well-drained soil moisture levels will discourage diseases associated with overly wet conditions.

Chemical Treatments

While chemical treatments can be useful for disease control, they should be a last resort. Consider the following:

  • Identify the Disease: Accurately diagnose the specific cherry tree fungus to choose the right chemical treatment.
  • Follow Instructions: Carefully adhere to the instructions on the product label, including dosage, timing, and safety precautions.
  • Safety First: Wear appropriate protective gear, like gloves and eye protection, when handling chemicals. Keep them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Explore Alternatives: Before using chemicals, explore non-chemical methods like neem oil, sulfur, or beneficial insects for pest control.
  • Seek Expert Advice: If unsure about the appropriate chemical treatment or if the disease is severe, consult with a certified arborist or horticulturist for professional guidance.

Remember that chemical treatments should be a part of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan that combines cultural, biological, and chemical approaches for effective and sustainable disease management.


diseased cherry blossom trees

Why Is My Cherry Tree Losing Its Bark?

Cherry or other ornamental trees can lose bark due to issues like Cytospora canker, environmental stress, mechanical damage, bark beetles, a variety of diseases, or even natural aging.

What Are The Green Spots On Cherry Tree Bark?

Green spots on infected cherry tree bark may be due to algae, lichen, moss, mold, or lime deposits. While generally harmless, they can indicate environmental conditions or water quality issues.

Maintain good tree care, and consult a professional if concerned about bacterial infections or diseases affecting the tree’s health.

Can A Tree Recover From Bark Damage?

Yes, trees can recover from actual damage to a certain degree. They possess natural healing mechanisms that allow them to grow new bark over wounds.

An adult cherry tree’s ability to recover depends on factors like its overall health, the extent of the damage, and the care it receives.

However, it’s a slow process, and severe damage may require professional intervention, such as grafting or other treatment options, to facilitate healing and prevent long-term harm.


In the intricate tapestry of nature, cherry trees stand as a testament to the wonders of the world around us.

Yet, as we admire their splendor, we must also recognize the fragility of their existence in the face of threats like cherry tree bark disease.

Armed with understanding, vigilance, and proactive measures, you and I can ensure these majestic trees’ continued health and vitality.


Photo of author
Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment