Flowering Crab Apple Tree Leaves Have Turned Brown And Are Dropping

Question From: J. Oliver - Macomb, Michigan, United States
Q: We have a Flowering Crab Apple tree that is 28 years old. We did a major trimming on June 19th and since then it looks like it is dying. All the leaves have turned brown and are dropping. It faces the southeast and is about 7 feet from the house. There was a nest of Army Worms that we found in early June. Is there anything we can do to save the tree?
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A: My guess is your cherry tree has a fungal disease called fireblight. It moves quite quickly. All infected branches would have to be removed back to new wood and your cutting tools should be cleaned with every cut with 10 percent bleach solution. Careful cleanup is necessary so as not to spread the disease. The tree should also be sprayed with the proper fungicide to the point of runoff being sure to cover the undersides of the tree. Take bagged samples of the damage to your local independent garden center or nursery that sells these trees for an accurate Id and recommendation for control. Flowering cherries are short lived trees so replacement may be your best bet. Newer varieties are more resistant to diseases. Google disease resistant flowering cherry trees for selection. I would locate your new tree further from the house. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy