WSU Extension


Cherry : Mottle leaf
(revision date: 5/20/2014)

Mottle leaf is a virus disease of cherries. Symptoms are seen mainly on the leaves, which are puckered and mottled with light green to yellow blotches between the veins. The mottling is less noticeable later in the growing season. Leaves may be smaller than normal and some shothole symptoms may occur. Shoots are rather stunted. Fruit produced on infected trees is generally small, slow in ripening, and of poor flavor. The cherry mottle leaf virus can be transmitted by budding or grafting, and by an eriophyid mite which is uncommon on sweet cherry. Bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata) is a common host of both virus and mites in the wild.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Remove wild cherries in the vicinity of domestic cherry plantings.
  • Do not plant extremely susceptible varieties ('Bing', 'Royal Ann') in areas with large wild cherry populations. A cultivar susceptibility list for this and other virus diseases is available in the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook.
  • Remove infected trees.
  • Plant certified virus-free stock. Do not graft or bud with infected wood.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Cherry mottle leaf virus symptoms
Photo by: R.S. Byther