Maybe mower damage? I attended a gardening class and the speaker said that the bark of a young tree can be damaged by a grass mower when mowing the yard. Then when the tree grows, the damage in the bark grows proportionately. Not very good for the tree. The damaged bark exposes the tree trunk to boring insects and diseases.
Thanks for your reply. This tree is in a bed where the mower does not go. Any more suggestions?
I am trying to tell from the photos if the tree was planted too deep in the ground. It looks as if soil/mulch is piled against the trunk. I have seen this occur when a tree is planted too deep. The root/trunk flare should be at or slightly above ground level. This trunk seems to go directly down into the soil with no visible sign of the flare. Some quick info http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=45 http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/urban/features/treeplanting/tabid/5462/Default.aspx
ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO I PLANTED A 2 1/2 " CALIPER YOSHINO CHERRY TREE THAT'S NOW ABOUT A 12" CALIPER . AT THE TIME I PURCHASED THE TREE , THE NURSERY SAID THAT A KWANZAN WOULD DO WHAT THIS PHOTO SHOWS . WELL , NOW MY YOSHINO LOOKS JUST LIKE THE PHOTO ! I'VE SEEN OTHER YOSHINOS IN MY AREA THAT HAVE GOT THE SAME PROBLEM . ABOUT 5 YEARS AGO I PLANTED A 1 1/2 " CALIPER KWANSAN THAT , SO FAR HAS NOT SHOWN THIS PROBLEM .
Did the tree have this when you bought it, or did it develop later, Teresa. It looks like a particularly bad southwest injury. Cherries are particularly susceptible to this because they have such thin bark. A sharp temperature change between day and night may freeze the water within the trunk of a young tree, causing it to explode or split open. If not severe, the cracks heal when warm weather arrives, but the wood fibers within may not grow back together, which is what looks like happened with your tree. It is known as a southwest injury because it is commonly found on the southwest side of shade trees where warm afternoon sun creates further extremes in the day and night temperatures.
Southern Trillium is correct. It was planted too deeply originally and soil fungi have begun attacking the base of the trunk. Use a trowel to excavate around the bottom and send us pictures of where you find the first major root.
Those are all good points. Another thing to consider is most fruiting tree varieties (cherries included) are bud grafted, meaning the trunk of the tree was grafted to another species of tree roots. Often times as the tree ages the trunk and roots can reject each other, it's hard to tell in these photos if that's what's happening, but it's a possibility...
Thanks for all the comments & recommendations. I will send pics again very soon.
South wind burn. the tree can heal-but will always be weakened in that spot.. the very best chance you could give this tree is to protect it by planting dense shrubs (preferably evergreen) to the south west of the trunk, the taller the shrubs, the further back they can be planted. hopefully you can work this into the design of the bed and create a little micro climate for your cherry. be very careful if you decide to excavate to where the original rootball should have been planted... if the tree has been in for several years then all of the feeder roots are now growing in the top few inches of soil, taking all of that out could cause major stress. it is best to have the tree planted at the right height originally, but if it has been in too long-attempting to change it now may do more harm than good.
Interesting. My yoshino did this and split all the way up the trunk. the split was indeed on the southwest side, but it was shaded from direct sun and wind by leyland cypresses.
I HATE TO BE A KILJOY , BUT MY YOSHINO HAS THIS GASH ON THE NORTHEAST SIDE ........JUST LOOKED AT IT WHILE WALKING MY DOG .
Thanks again for all the responses. I inspected the tree very well before I bought it & I can guarantee you it was not there at the time of purchase :)
I hope you can see the 1st major root from these pics.
Forgot to mention, the 1st major root is about 4-5" below the soil surface.
It looks like it was buried too deep.
Yeah, looks like it was buried too deep. But also has girdling roots from being container grown and not properly root pruned in the nursery. As the trunk calipers out the root basically strangles the plant. Not looking good for the cherry...
Core is correct about the girdling root. Even though the photo shows only one large one, there may be more that are still buried.
Thanks everyone! We'll just wait to see how long it survives! I just love this this site. Everyone is so helpful!
Common problem with cherry in GA - can happen on trunk or stems
It looks like decay from the soil level which could be a result of planting too deeply or mulch piled against the tree. Trees should always be planted no deeper than they were in the pot, and generally there is a visible flare at the bottom of the trunk.
you may just cut your losses.. not fight this problem.. take this one out and plant a new one.. don't compost the damaged parts of the tree.. I have taken all the cherries out of my acreage.. (I didn't plant them) . .In the mountains outside of Seattle.. too wet. .too hot.. to dry. too everything for growing a great cherry!.. fight the birds all the time anyway. .lost my sour cherry as well this past season.. think they are just past prime... think they were planted in the '70's. .. not like my grapes that keep on tickin! LOL
I had the same problem - was told it was a fungus - it died - have 3 out of 5 left - definitely get rid of the problem tree
I have been told that this fungus/bacterial thing is contagious to other trees as well.. when you cut a blighted tree like this you need to clean the saw/pruner blades with alcohol .. like you would clean a poultry knife before you exposed it to anything else.
Poor tree. Sorry to see the damage. It sure has a pretty trunk. Like someone used watercolors to paint it.