Yoshino Tree- Root Rot

Q: I have two two-year old ‘Yoshino’ cherry trees in full sun planted thirty feet apart. They were both thriving but over the past month one tree’s leaves are drooping, turning yellow, and falling off. The other tree looks great. The sick tree has less drainage than the other and has been in some standing water. Is this root rot and will the tree survive?

A: Flowering cherry trees are famous for their dislike of poorly drained soil. Their roots demand constant gas exchange. In other words, the roots have to breathe. Cherries installed in un-amended clay soil or planted too deeply or in spots where water accumulates usually die after a few years. I’m doubtful your sick tree will survive. Remove it, mix a bag of soil conditioner in a six-foot wide planting area and put another in its place.

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