We have a large mature cherry tree. It produced cherries just fine the first two years we were in this house. We had someone come out and trim the tree the third year (wasn't too happy with their job) and since then it doesn't produce very well. The vast majority of them fall off at an early stage. The ground will be covered with stems and the small beginnings of a cherry. At first I thought it was just shock or something from the year it was trimmed (it wasn't trimmed too heavily) but this is the start of the third year since that happened and they are still dropping.

It may not have anything to do with the trimming, that's just the only thing I can think of that was different since previous years. The tree had also been infected with Western Cherry Fruit Fly (we didn't really notice it until the second year, but it most likely had been like that since long before we moved in to the house).

Here's a picture of the tree in question: enter image description here

And here is what is dropping. There are literally hundreds, if not more of these all over the ground, this is just a small sample:enter image description here

As you can see, it doesn't look like blossoms, so much as nascent cherries.

  • 2
    Would you mind posting a few pictures of the tree? Thanks! May 13, 2017 at 0:49
  • What time of year did they prune the tree? Has it been very dry in your area when the fruit is forming, when it never used to be?
    – Bamboo
    May 13, 2017 at 16:57
  • @Sue I added some photos. Let me know if there is anything in particular I could add that would help. May 14, 2017 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


The usual problem causing massive early fruit(-let) fall is that the blossoms did not get pollinated - so what's your local pollinator situation like? The bit that would have become the fruit falls off the tree.

For sweet cherries, particularly, there's also a need in most varieties to have a companion tree that will pollinate them as many are self-sterile and there's a complex web of what will pollinate what successfully. But I don't know what type of cherry you have. If some other tree in the neighborhood was doing that job and was cut, it could make trouble for your tree.

I suppose it's just possible that your cherry had a pollinator grafted to it and your tree-trimmer trimmed that branch off, but given widespread problems with bees in recent years, I'm thinking that lower likelihood since you say it wasn't much of a trim.

  • Round here, a shortage of bees has become a problem. We get early blooms then cold snaps now. Any tiny cherries that form are quite susceptible to bad weather too. May 13, 2017 at 14:41
  • 2
    But if what's falling are immature cherries, then the problem isn't pollination, is it....
    – Bamboo
    May 14, 2017 at 0:14
  • @Bamboo True. I get small ones falling too. I think it's weather/tree just not getting enough nutrients. Probably weather though, as some years it's really bad, some years not. We get cold snaps, dry spells and the like. May 14, 2017 at 14:18
  • I added some photos. As you'll see, whats dropping looks like the start of a cherry rather than just the blossom. The tree does have a small number of cherries growing on it, it's just that the vast majority have dropped or are barely hanging on. May 14, 2017 at 18:13
  • @RyanElkins do you get late frosts where you are?
    – Bamboo
    May 14, 2017 at 21:40

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