WSU Extension

Hortsense

Cherry : Cytospora canker
(revision date: 5/20/2014)


Biology
The fungi which cause Cytospora canker attack through wounds on twigs and branches. Initial cankers are small, but enlarge quickly and may streak up and down the stems without girdling. The cankers may also girdle twigs, resulting in dieback above the infection site and causing "flags" of dead material to appear in the canopy. The leaves on the dead twigs turn color and droop, but often remain attached. The canker itself appears as a dark, sunken area of dead bark and wood. Callus tissue forms around the margin of the canker. Amber gumming is often present. The pinhead-sized black fruiting structures of the fungi are rarely found on cherry. Spores are easily spread by wind, rain, and insects. The cankers are often perennial, enlarging through several seasons.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Provide proper planting sites and culture. Healthy trees are more resistant to disease and winter injury.
  • Avoid wounding trees.
  • Control insect and disease problems to minimize injuries.
  • Prune out and destroy infected tissues during dry weather. Make cuts at least 12" below visibly infected area. Sterilize pruning tools frequently.
  • Rake and destroy infected twig debris.
  • Correct pruning practices minimize injury and improve wound healing. For more information see PNW 400, Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard, or contact your WSU Master Gardeners or county Extension agent.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

Images
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Caption: Cytospora-infected peach twigs
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Cytospora canker spore tendrils on apple
Photo by: R.S. Byther