Hold The Cherry Pie

Remember how a little while back I posted about our poor cherry tree? Well, I discussed the issue with MOFGA, the Maine Organic Farmers & Growers Association, and there wasn’t much hope for the tree. It looked like mechanical damage plus a mix of a potential canker disease.

We cut off all of the dead limbs like suggested and kept an eye on it but there was just no hope. The branches have been continuously dying and becoming brittle. As mentioned in the previous post on the tree, it looked slightly discolored. I realized if I licked my finger and wiped the bark I could wipe the discoloration off. I tried this on a few other trees and they all dried back to the same color. I knew something was on my tree, and it made me sad.

We also knew we had to get it out of there before whatever was going on spread to our other trees—if it hasn’t already. We’re keeping a close eye on them, especially our plum tree.

I’ve researched all around and it looks like you essentially only have to look at a sweet cherry tree wrong and they die. It could have started with the rootstock, been a mixture of mechanical and winter damage, been from pests, other diseased trees, planting it wrong, pruning it wrong or simply walked by it wrong. In other woods, they seem to be pretty susceptible to death.

So while I was gone fighting off Jaws in Martha’s Vineyard, Andy took to taking the cherry tree out. When I came home it looked a little more like this.

Just to be safe, we won’t be growing anything except grass in this same spot for at least a few years. We aren’t sure there is any damage to the soil, but given the condition of the tree we’re going to let it have a few years rest.

As of now the tree is in the burn pile, awaiting the next torching. We’ll need to do it soon so the tree can’t potentially transfer any airborn diseases to our other trees.

What surprised me most when I saw the tree in the burn pile was how small the root ball was. I would have expected after three years it would have been bigger than this. I may be entirely incorrect however.

Oh well. Long story short, we no longer have a cherry tree. Growing whether it be an orchard, a garden or personally is all about trying new things, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and learning from your mistakes. For now I’ll keep researching and reading, and maybe down the line if we try another cherry tree we’ll end up with a sweet cherry pie at the end.



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