Question: what is the gell like substance that appears on my 10 year old chery tree and how do i get rid of it, and will it cause a problem. It flowers every year and gets cherrys which the birds eat and in the late summer the leaves start to fall with a rust like look on them.

Answer: The oozing sap symptom is a general one, called "gummosis". Trees produce the gummy sap in response to diseases or insect invasion. Your young cherry may be suffering from bacterial canker, since the wet spring weather was good for it, and it may get worse as fall gets damp and cold. The tree also sounds like it's not a very strong tree, and is therefore more succeptible to disease and pests. Bacterial canker also affects the rest of the tree, though, so if you aren't seeing gummy buds, twigs and damaged leaves as well, your tree may be fighting the presence of a borer or another disease organism. Sometimes burls, which are benign growth abnormalities, form on trunks of trees for various reasons, and these can also ooze gum. To determine the cause of the trouble with your tree, consult with a local landscape professional, or see if a Master Gardener can offer you some on-site advice. Master Gardeners can be reached at your cooperative extension office.

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