Wilting leaves on my cherry tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Cherry trees are used in landscapes as ornamental trees for their spring blossoms and their fruit. The trees grow well in areas of full sun and prefer an alkaline soil. Cherry leaves often start to wilt due to a bacterial infection.


Cherry trees are susceptible to the bacterial leaf scorch disease, also known as oleander leaf scorch, caused by Xylella fastidiosa. The disease is commonly transmitted by insects such as sharpshooters. The insect transmits the disease while feeding on plant tissue.


Bacterial leaf scorch is more prevalent during spring and summer and is characterised by yellowing and wilting tree foliage. Leaf margins turn brown or yellow before dying. The disease starts with a few branches and then spreads throughout the tree. Severely infected trees gradually die.


There is no known cure for bacterial leaf scorch. Prune and remove all infected plant areas. The use of insecticides to control bacterial transmitting pests is rarely effective. Remove moderately infected trees early to minimise transmission of disease to other landscape plants.

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About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.