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How to Care for a Cherry Tree?

Cherry trees are original natives of Western Asia and Europe and are popularly grown both for their fruit and their flowers. They typically have a shorter life span than other flowering trees, simply because they are more prone to diseases and pests. By performing regular maintenance, the life of this plant can be prolonged significantly.

The plants need rich, well-drained soil. Mix compost into the soil before planting to ensure an active well-established root system, and place it in a location with plenty of space. Cherries are sensitive to drought, so regular, deep watering in summer is essential. Until a watering pattern has been established, it is helpful to probe the soil around it about three inches (8 cm) deep. Performing this action regularly will help determine how often the cherry tree should be watered.

An all-purpose fertilizer with high nitrogen content should be applied to the base of the cherry tree in the spring. The best way to apply fertilizer is to spread it in a circle around the base of it, being careful not to allow any to settle on the trunk. The fertilizer will penetrate the soil and provide the necessary nutrients to the roots of the plant. There are many different fertilizers formulated especially for the plants which may result in larger blossoms and higher fruit production.

Pruning Care
It is generally best to prune the trees when the weather is hot. Do not prune in the winter or late fall or early spring. Bacterial diseases are present in all non-arid environments and are particularly detrimental to sweet cherries. These bacteria are most active in cool, wet weather. All broken, dead, or diseased branches should be removed, and weak or crossed branches should be trimmed lightly. Side branches can be cut back to the main branch to promote new growth. Pruning will keep your tree vigorous, encourage the establishment of fruit buds and enable you to keep your plant down to a manageable size.

Insect Problems and Disease
At the beginning of the growing season horticultural oils should be used to smother scale insects and reduce over wintering populations of aphid and mite eggs. The University of California Extension lists iprodione(36734-19-7) as among the recommended fungicides for the control of botrytis blossom blight of cherry trees. Use ipridone during full bloom time of it  to prevent heavy loss of flowers and fruit. Botrytis is more common during wet weather.

Agrobacterium radiobacter is a preplanting treatment for the control of crown galls on cherry trees. Crown gall is a bacterial disease caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens and is characterized by the appearance of soft and spongy, rough galls on the trunk and roots of infected trees. Agrobacterium radiobacter is a live organism and is applied to the soil prior to planting this plant.

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