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Fungus in Flowering Cherry tree

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by JoeKidd, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. JoeKidd

    JoeKidd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I work in a cemetery and take care of a cremation garden. Its got a inner and outer circle brick walkway with four corner points and a big flag pole in the middle.A wrap around bench hugs the flag pole. Its got two big raised outer beds that wrap around the turf on the inside. In those beds are many small bushes and four flowering cherry trees and four other dwarf trees I forget the name of. The inner circle has two small elevated wrap around beds with more bushes, four trees and more turf.

    Its a really beautiful place except for the red style mulch they choose to use. I would love to see a dark forest style dark mulch spread in there myself. Anyway its been a real pain over the years working with this mulch they choose to use. A few batches they cheaped out and bought old mulch off their guy which actually had acorns sprouting in it. I had friggin squirels digging in mulch beds all year.:dizzy: Also this mulch really doesnt decompose at all and I've had a hard time keeping the mulch down to a good level over the years in this place . We lay fresh stuff every season which means with this red crap... taking some out and putting the new back in and its a pain in the arse to spread too. It always seems real moist and spreads alot lower than what it actually turns out to be dry.

    The place also sits at the bottom of the cemetery and gets alot of water running down to it. Now last season we got a ton of rain and a few 30 foot maples located just ahead of this garden were killed from too much water because of poor drainage. Finally I come to the problem...this season all four flowering cherry trees in this garden were hit with a bad fungus( I forget the name) which I think started last season with too much mulch around these trees and all this water. The mulch when I took it out was around 4 or 5 inches and their was a hard layer down low that probably did the damage by locking all that moisture in. I do try and turn it over a few times a season but it doesnt seems to help with this style of mulch. Alot of times a white powdery like glaze is all over the mulch underneath when I stir it up.

    My question is what can I do about the fungus. The fungus looks like black growths all over its branches and the trees are craking in spots oozing out a jelly type substance. I dug out the mulch in a three foot circle around them and spread some good top soil over the roots and the base of the tree, I also sprayed them with some Fungicle spray the local guy had. Is their anything else I can do to try and save them? I do think their finally going to go with a different mulch next season, something easier to spread which does decompose some. I will keep the mulch much lower in the future because of its location and these problems with the trees.

    Any help or input would be appreciated. I'll try and get some pics of the place and the fungus tomorrow.

  2. stahlfaust

    stahlfaust LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Black Knot
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Nothing can be done. If you hear of a cure let me know.
    One client was dutiful on cutting out the knotted branches as they appeared, but eventually we just took it out.
    I have experimented with my apricots and painted a baking soda paste on the wounds. (They can't tolerate sulfur).
    It may have helped the bark this year but the disease will always remain there too.
  4. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Funny (not really)..I have been dealing with a similar situation. I have 12 huge cherries that recently began taking a major dump..branches dying ....lots of them..all at the same time. Fortunately, I have an insane budget to work with so I brought in a consultant from cornell university. They ALL have fungus...you might see many cankers along the branches. They will ooze during times of stress. In my case..(new construction) they were planted on top of really bad backfill. My moisture meter would only go down 10" or so. Once we dug about 14" down, we found powder like dry masonry type sub material. I would have had to water (spray heads) 5-6 hours to permiate through it (we measured and timed for 1 inch) Blah blah blah..yada yada yada....the moral of the story is..find out what the source of stress is. 6 inches of mulch could do it. Too much water could do it. Borers could do it. And drought stress would be the most likely culprit
  5. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Keep in mind that mulch will actually take nitrogen away from the soil.
  6. JoeKidd

    JoeKidd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Yeah its Black Knot and our trees are beyond saving. Supposivly you can cut it out by cutting a few inches beyond the fungus bulges. If I did that their would be nothing left of these trees. Caught it about a year or two late. Their going to replace them next Spring with something else.

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