The Q&A Archives: Sudden Yoshino Cherry death!

Question: We bought 4 Yoshino Cherry trees 2 years ago. They have grown tremendously since we planted them. Only three of them bloomed this spring. The fourth one looked fine and healthy on September 1 when we left the country for a month. When we returned the 4th tree was dead. We have been fighting moles and voles all over our property. Could this be the problem? If not, what? Thank you.

Answer: Moles generally do not harm plants at all, but voles will certainly eat plant roots. If you look at the base of the tree you may find that the roots have been severed, if so this could have killed it. Another possibility is that the dry weather caused it to die. Sometimes a new tree will seem to be fine but succumb somewhat suddenly during a dry spell. Most often this is related to poor rooting for whatever reason, possibly due to an underground obstruction or more often to encircling roots underground having strangled the tree. I suspect something like this has been affecting the tree for a while, especially since it did not bloom this past spring. I'm sorry I can't tell you specifically what happened, but maybe this will help you invetigate. Your local professional nursery staff and/or county extension might also be able to help determine what happened.

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