cherry blunder

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MELOC, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i don't know if i mulched too close to the trunk or if the chronic canker finally is taking a toll on a family heirloom yellow cherry. it seems to be dying. i removed the mulch and saw that the bark has deteriorated away nearly ringing the tree. this tree had the biggest fruit crop ever this year so it may be the canker and the massive fruit production may have been the dying gasp. either way, i have been watering the poor thing for the past several days manually, trying to give it some moisture during this drought we have had recently. i don't want to saturate it.

    my goal was always to propagate some trees from it as it came from my grandpa's house and my mom remembers having to get her own switch from the tree when she was bad, lol. i had lots of the cherries go bad in the fridge and they went on my compost pile. i don't know if i could sift through it and locate some seed or not.

    how well would a cherry tree respond to attempts at
    (a) untimely grafting...i have other healthy cherry trees/saplings i could use as root stock. i could also shelter the tree and use lights if need be

    (b) trying to grow a clone from one of the remaining green twigs i see

    as silly as it sounds, i am seriously bummed out that i may have killed this tree before i got a sapling from it.

    i may also cordone off a section of my yard and stop mowing it in case some of the fallen cherries decide to sprout.


    any thoughts would help...perhaps even prayers.
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Meloc, I am so sorry about your cherry tree! That's just ... sad. How discouraging for you! :(

    I don't know a whole lot about fruit tree production, but have noticed on my own trees that there is a point at which there is too much mulch. If you go too high up the tree, the evil nasties lurking there can really get a foot hold.

    Do you fertilize your tree? What do you use?

    How often/when do you prune?

    As far as grafting goes, I would err on the side of caution and wait until it's time. If the tree is in such bad shape that it's going to keel over tomorrow, I guess I'd give it a shot now, but if it can hang on, I should think you'd stand a better chance in waiting until the optimal season for it.

    I'm interested in seeing the responses to your thread, and will post any additional info I may find.

    Good luck!

    Pony!
     

  3. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    Can you try grafting a couple of branches now, rooting a couple more, and then waiting for the appropriate time to try again in case those fail?
     
  4. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    the shotgun approach, lol, try a little of everything and hope something hits the target. i didn't realize i may have mulched to heavily. i was conscious of that when i applied the mulch. even so, i may have still mulched to heavily next to the trunk. some of the much was from green wood i recently chipped so that may have been a problem. then again there is the canker disease that all my cherries seem to get. cutting out canker is iffy at best and labor intensive. it could be canker, it could be mulching...i am not really sure but the result is the same. the cambium is nearly all gone at the base of the tree.

    we also had about 3 + weeks of drought-like weather. we had a good rain last night and maybe it is my imagination but the tree looks "happier". maybe there is a part of it that will survive until the spring. i will definately find some cherry saplings that are not infected yet by canker and try to graft this winter. i may try a small cutting and some rooting hormone or willow juice and hook up some lights...who knows. i also found one seed in the compost heap and potted it and sunk the pot in a raised bed. my fingers are crossed.

    i normally never fertilize the trees. the soil is generally good and i never need nitrogen. i leave the grass clippings in the lawn and i think that helps and my sister occasionally grazes a horse or two in that section of yard and they always leave a gift or two. i mean, she holds it on a lead for maybe a half an hour maybe several times a year so there is no chance of too much nitrogen. i thought of applying a mild all purpose fertilizer but i doubt it would help much as it is late in the year and the tree has already lost lots of leaves.

    as far as pruning goes, i really don't. the tree is about 20 feet high now and i was going to top it this winter as half of the cherries were out of reach. i cut a few head knockers back that restricted mowing. that is why i mulched the tree in the first place...it was hard to mow around.

    thanks for the support guys. i guess i am over the shock now. i should be used to it by now as i am always a day late and a dollar short. i really was going to graft this guy this winter...dadgummit.