Why is my cherry tree not blossoming and has few leaves?


I have a Weeping Cherry tree in my yard that did not blossom and has very few leaves. Most of the branches are bare, looking dead. A neighbor about four houses away also has a smaller weeping cherry tree in the same situation. Could you please advise how we can help diagnose or treat these trees?


Jonathan Foster, Special Project Assistant 

I’m sorry to hear about your cherry tree, but you are far from the only one in that boat this season. The combination of generally mild winter and a late brutal cold snap is wreaking havoc on many fruit trees this year, and is a likely culprit for your tree’s woes. While I don’t have the exact dates, it was the cold snap in February that did it. I’ll include a couple of sources from slightly farther afield discussing the New England 2023 peach crop (the effects are similar on many fruit trees):
Cornell Univ Blog

CBS Boston news story

There are some other reasons why your cherry might be struggling–e.g., the watering regimen, soil conditions, and (importantly with many ornamentals) pruning. So I will also include a few resources on general cherry care:

UMaine Coop Extension home page on fruit trees

MOFGA page on growing cherry trees

Univ of MD Coop Extension Ornamental Cherry Tree page

The silver lining is that if the tree is otherwise healthy, it will typically recover from minor to moderate winter injury.