Q: In February this year we planted a ‘Windsor’ dark sweet cherry tree in an orchard with other fruit. The tree looked healthy until a month ago when one of its branches turned brown, proceeded to black and died. Now it appears to be “weeping” a clear, gel-like blob on its trunk . What is happening with this tree?
A: It sounds like bacterial canker…but you may be also receiving a warning that you’ve chosen the wrong fruit to plant. Sweet cherry is very difficult to grow in the Southeast. High summer humidity and temperature fluctuations in winter prevent fruiting most years. You must also have high numbers of honeybees to provide pollination. ‘Early Richmond’, ”Montmorency’ and ‘North Star’ varieties of tart (pie) cherry might work for you – but I don’t hold out much hope. Georgia is not cherry country…and Mother Nature will ultimately prevail.