Cherry Tree Leaves Turning Yellow- Reasons & Remedies


Cherries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients that our body needs to function optimally. These features made cherries one of the most beloved fruits.

But everything seems cool until they express that they are facing some difficulties. Cherry tree leaves turning yellow is one of the expressions of their sufferings. So, as a home grower, you must listen to what your plant is telling you.

Chances are your cherry leaves start yellowing, if so, do not worry. We are going to talk about why and when this happens with some effective solutions.

So, let’s go!

Photo of cherry tree leaves with cherries
Photo by Jdmfoto

What Causes Cherry Leaves Turning Yellow?

Before you go for the solutions, let’s have a crystal idea about what leads your plant to this yellowing situation. Here’s a shortlist of the most common causes:

  • Bacterial canker
  • Copper phytotoxicity
  • Phytophthora root and crown rot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Cherry leaf spot
  • Armillaria root rot

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What Are the Remedies?

In this section, we are going to talk about the problems with some effective solutions in a detailed manner. We want your cherry plants to be as healthy as possible. Because ain’t no yellowing leaves is a good sign.

Bacterial Canker

Bacterial canker is a common disease in cherries, especially sweet cherries. Generally, it is seen in cold and wet weather during bloom. However, leaves that already had bacterial canker infection earlier this season are now yellowing and eventually dropping from the trees.

The symptoms of this disease you can characterize by large and brown spots that may be circular to somewhat angular. Sometimes, these spots come together and form large, dead areas on the leaves.

Solution: To prevent this, use a pruner to prune your cherry trees in dry weather rather than during rainy, fall, or spring season. In case, it won’t work for you, prune in mid-winter (in cool and dry periods). It is because heading cuts, as well as leaf scars, are susceptible to infection.

Copper Phytotoxicity

This happens when copper compounds are applied to cherry trees in advance of dry, hot weather, the trees will exhibit phytotoxicity symptoms (e.g large yellow and brown blotches on the upper surface of the leaves or bronzing on the beneath of the leaves). Moreover, it may finally lead to leaf defoliation.

Solution: There are several reports of phytotoxicity from copper products to control bacterial spots during summer. If you want to use them, you should apply the copper with a relatively low volume of water (under conditions where droplets will dry quickly).

Phytophthora Root & Crown Rot

Phytophthora root and crown rot occur due to several species of the fungal pathogens. The very first symptoms of this disease usually are damage from rodents, mechanical girdling, or winter injury.

When warm weather arrives, the infected cherry leaves begin to dull and discolor, turning yellow, or red or purple. Infected cherry leaves can die a year later or the same year the infection began.

Solution: To prevent phytophthora root & crown rot, you need to plant cherry trees in well-drained soil. In case, a tree started showing signs of infection, remove the soil away from the base as well as the main roots of the cherry tree. Use a garden hoe to get the soil out from the right spot.

This will let the crown tissue die and the tree may survive the disease.

Verticillium Wilt

The most common sign of verticillium wilt is the yellowing of the current season’s leaves at the bottom of the tree. Over time, the infection will spread upwards, infect branches and twigs and eventually, cause them to die.

Moreover, the yellow leaves will drop and fall, leaving only the upper leaves of the tree on the branches. Sometimes this fungal disease attacks only one side of the tree whereas the other side is maybe untouched by fungus.

To sum up, this disease occurs for a soil-borne fungal pathogen that may live in the soil for years.

Solution: Planting cherry trees in pathogen-free soil is the best option to prevent verticillium wilt. Besides, regularly water properly, remove weeds, avoid excessive nitrogen, and prioritize potassium. Also, try to refrain from over-pruning.

Cherry Leaf Spot

The fungus Blumeriella jaapii is responsible for this disease. Usually, the very first symptoms of this fungal disease are small purple spots on the top of the leaves. Over time, the spots will turn yellow or brown and begin to enlarge, collapse, and leave a hole in the foliage.

Older leaves are prone to be yellowish and drop from the branches and even the tree may lose all of its leaves which will weaken the fruits and increase the tree’s susceptibility to cold damage.

Solution: To prevent this, apply fungicide at the proper time. It will be better to spray fungicide at the petal fall stage. Also, repeat it every seven days until harvest. It also recommended spraying only one side of the tree while applying the fungicides alternating sides with each of the applications.

Armillaria Root Rot

Armillaria root rot is also known as oak root fungus. Symptoms of this disease vary. If the fungal disease starts to develop rapidly, it will cause stunted leaves that are yellow and finally drop off the brunches.

Solution: Remove tissue (using sickle) and bark that is infected with fungal growth. Use fumigants or fungicides as chemical control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How should I water my cherry trees?

Answer: Sometimes, overwatering can cause yellowing the leaves. In such a case, water the tree every three weeks.

Question: Which nutrition deficiency causes yellowing cherry leaves?

Answer: Iron chlorosis (a result of iron deficiency) causes yellowing leaves. In this case, amend the soil with peat and organic compost.


So, to close it out, we would like to thank you for being with us. Hopefully, at the end of the article, you are no longer tense because your cherry leaves are turning yellow.

As a small piece of advice, try to stick with the regular maintenance of your plants. This will help you to work less in the future. Water properly, remove the weeds regularly and apply the right fertilizer at the right time.

Wish you good luck!

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Celina Nance

It’s been a life-long wish of Celina Nance to have a lawn full of colorful flower beds. But living in Arizona city, that seems kind of impossible. But Celina Nance didn’t stop and created a full-form balcony garden instead. And he often shares stuff that he does/solves/innovates throughout the journey.

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