Why is my cherry tree drooping and losing it’s leaves?


I planted a cherry tree last year. It looked great after planting and in the spring this year. I pruned all branches this spring. It was looking great even after pruning and was growing very fast with a large amount of leaves. About month and half ago, it starting to look very droopy and started losing its leaves. I placed mulch at base last year and added more this year. The ground was fairly wet in the spring but has since dried up just fine. I am getting large amount of new growth at the base of the tree. I’m not sure what the issue is?? I am in hardiness zone 5/6 and should be good for cherry tree in the area. 


Jonathan Foster, Community Education Assistant

The flush of green growth at the base of your tree are known as suckers, which can be caused by a number of factors, but should be pruned away regardless as they pull nutrients away from your main trunk and will eventually form separate, weaker stems. That will definitely give some relief and an injection of resources to the primary treetop. There is more information on suckers and watersprouts (a similar phenomenon, but emerging from the trunk) in this University of New Hampshire bulletin.

There are several reasons the tree may be yellowing. If the soil drainage is poor, water retention can be the culprit–even if your irrigation regime is good, low and compact soil can make things mucky below. And it sounds like that may have been a problem early in the season for you. Light looks good where you have it planted. And it looks as though you already have a nice layer of mulch around the base, which is recommended best practice–make sure the material is not piled up in a “volcano” shape and is not in contact with the bark. Water the tree only when the soil a foot or more deep is dry. You should also consider having your soil tested and possibly submitting a foliage sample to your local Cooperative Extension equivalent in Ontario to rule out pathogens or nutrient deficiencies.