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Cherries Drying Up On Tree


We have had a Rainier cherry tree for several years. It is always full of blossoms and cherries. Then the little green cherries dry up and fall off. What would you suggest is the cause? Thank you.


Mrs. Mitchell


Ms. Mitchell,

Is the drying up and shriveling confined only to the fruits, or are some of the leaves and branches affected, too? Has your cherry tree ever successfully produced cherries? There are many possibilities here, so let's start at the beginning and play the process of elimination game.

If your tree has produced a successful crop in the past, you may be witnessing a phenomenon called Cherry Run Off. What happens is that every few years the tree produces more fruit than it can support so it drops the cherries prematurely in order to conserve energy. This type of drop is most likely to happen if temperatures are low (and the sun scarce) during the blossom stage, as well as during the early stages of fruit development. Climatic factors (late frosts, sudden changes in temperature or humidity) cause certain internal hormones to come into play, and before you know it, fruit production gets all out of whack. Another reason a tree might produce more fruit than it can sustain is prolific flowering and excess pollination. Again, the overproduction of fruit will cause the tree to release what it cannot sustain.


Fruit drop can also be a symptom that certain environmental factors are at work. Soil deficiencies, herbicide drift, improper nutrition, and irregular irrigation practices can all lead to fruit drop.

Fruit drop may also be pest related, although this is more likely to occur later in the season as fruits begin to near maturity.

Two things you can do to help prevent fruit drop:

1. Thin your fruit (or thin your blossoms). This will encourage your tree to put more energy into the fruit that remains.

2. Avoid unfavorable environmental conditions. Eliminate the use of herbicides and implement effective irrigation and fertilization programs (a soil test will alert you to any soil deficiencies).

Good luck!


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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May 1, 20080 found this helpful

If your trees aren't getting enough water the fruit will dry up. Are you getting any ripe fruit? There's a happening called "June Drop" no one's figured out why, but trees just do it and usually in June but also as early as May and as late as July. This is normal. Like the tree is getting rid of excess fruit on it's own. If you're not getting fruit, I'd get a hold of your state's department of agriculture and see what they say. It may be something in your soil... either missing or in excess.


Good Luck!

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