Gummosis causes an amber-coloured resin to flow from the branches and trunk of cherry trees (and other stone fruit trees). Sometimes this condition is associated with a perennial canker disease, but it can also be a reaction of slightly weak or stressed trees that are not suffering from any canker disease. Injured trees may also exude resin from their wounds. If the gumming is not a result of a canker disease, there is no real cure. The best you can do is to improve the tree’s overall health.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Clean, sharp knife
- Tree disinfectant
- Bleach or alcohol solution
- Clean, sharp pruning shears
- General-purpose fertiliser
Fertilise trees with no apparent cankers. Trees that are gumming for no particular reason should be fortified with an appropriate general-purpose fertiliser in the early spring. Use the granular fertiliser that is watered into the soil.
Examine trees for evidence of canker disease. Cankers look like damaged or depressed bark and may be soft to the touch. Very large cankers will have a raised, callused edge around them. Look for tissue death beneath and around the point where the resin exudes from the bark.
Prune out girdled branches in the spring or summer to give them plenty of time to heal. Girdled branches are those whose cankers have completely encircled the branch and killed it. These branches are a threat to the overall health of the tree and should be completely removed. Make the pruning cut as close to the branch collar as possible without cutting into it. Do not leave a stub, as stubs will decay and invite infection.
Cut away all dead tissue from a canker until the healthy surface is exposed. Use a sharp, clean knife. Disinfect the knife between cuts in a 10-percent bleach solution or a 70-percent alcohol solution. This will prevent bacteria transfer to healthy bark beneath and surrounding the canker.
Treat the wound with a disinfectant for trees. If performed during the appropriate time of year--after harvest and during the hot, dry weather of summer--the wound will not require any dressing.
Destroy the cankered limbs by burying or burning them.
Avoid late-summer fertilisation, as it will cause a flush of weak growth, which is especially susceptible to gummosis.
Keep weeping cherry trees stress-free. Cherry trees are very easily stressed. Make sure to water trees during dry weather and to plant them where they will not receive too much water.
Avoid wounding the bark of the weeping cherry. Wounds are easily caused by lawnmowers and other equipment, so keep them at a safe distance from the trunk.
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