Although, for the most part, the many cultivars of the cherry tree are relatively resilient and resistant to disease, they do have their challenges like any other trees, especially when it comes to fungus. If you’ve noticed white fungus on your cherry tree bark, your tree likely has a fungal infection.
Along with root rot, which can happen when the surrounding soil of a tree doesn’t drain well, cherry trees are susceptible to three main kinds of fungal diseases in which white fungus appears on the bark and sometimes even the leaves and roots.
White Fungus on Cherry Tree Bark: What Is It?
When you see white fungus growth affecting your cherry trees, it is likely one of the three most common fungal infections of that color. These include silver leaf, powdery mildew, and crown gall.
Silver leaf appears as white fungus patches on the cherry tree, especially the branches and the trunk. It is transmitted through scratches, wounds, or openings in the cherry tree’s branches. These types of wounds are caused by pruning or by storm damage. The silver leaf fungus enters these branch wounds and spreads, appearing in blotches on the tree’s exterior but mainly inside the tree itself.
The disease is named silver leaf because the most obvious indicator of the fungal infection is that the cherry tree’s leaves will take on a weird silvery sheen, and then you will notice the branches begin to die.
What To Do
You must cut away and remove all infected parts of the cherry tree. It would help if you inspected the tree’s neighbors to ensure they’re not infected with the fungus. You then need to dress the pruned branches with a decent wound dressing, but only in the case of fungus prevention, not as a regular practice.
Powdery mildew is perhaps the most common (but also least serious) white fungus that appears on cherry trees. It appears all over the tree: the bark, fruit, and leaves. It causes stunted tree growth and sometimes even curled leaves and shriveled fruit.
What To Do
There are several options to treat your powdery mildew-infected cherry trees. First, you can purchase a commercial fungicide. These are becoming more environmentally friendly, but if you’re worried about spraying chemicals on your trees, you can also use homemade apple cider vinegar and water spray to coat your infected cherry trees.
Sometimes, the white patches on your cherry tree(s) could be something known as crown gall. This is a form of tree cancer and not a fungus at all, although the tumorous bulbs it causes can look like fungus to the uninitiated. They are sometimes brown, but they can also be white tumors.
What To Do
Crown gall is a tough illness and needs to be eradicated with a chemical spray aimed at infected areas and tumorous branches. After you spray your tree down with crown gall killer, you can remove the infected branches and the tumors so you can try to prevent the spread of this cancer and possibly save your tree. You can prevent crown gall by keeping your trees’ crowns dry and planting the trees in well-draining soil.