I have a 10+ years old sweet cherry tree. I applied only minimal pruning throughout these years, and it grew (by itself) into a beautiful natural-looking 6m/20ft high pyramidal tree, with central leader and almost horizontal main branches. The cultivar is unknown. It flowers late, relative to other cherries in the area. Actually, there is no other cherry in the immediate vicinity, the closest one is maybe 300m/0.2miles afar. There are some sour cherries nearby though, that flower approximately at the same time as my sweet cherry.

However, there is a big problem: After flowering, the fruit is created (small greenish balls), and it starts growing - but, after a week or two, almost all fruit simply shrinks, and all is left are kernels. It happens with 98% of the fruit. I am left with just a handful of cherries each year. They look and taste normal for a cherry. This happens year after year after year.

I suspect two things:

  1. Even though the fruit starts growing, perhaps my cherry tree is not pollinated properly, and this causes fruit shrinking.

  2. Perhaps the culprit is some virus/bacteria. In my area, moniliosis is a common fruit decease, perhaps my cherry picked it up somehow.

What do you think?

  • It's not a pollination problem because the tree starts to form fruit. Have you observed the tree frequently to see how the fruits are doing? if you do, you can notice any problems as they begin, rather than realising when you want to pick that lots of fruits are now shrivelled and still attached to the tree. Brown rot can cause this problem - its sets in usually after birds peck at the fruits, but I'm not convinced that's the trouble unless you have regular flocks of birds constantly attacking the fruits... Are the shrivelled fruits all over the tree, or most at the top?
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2021 at 16:13
  • The shriveled fruit is all over the tree. I did observe the process frequently - there are no holes in the affected fruit, nor any brown discoloration, nor any sign of some fungi or similar. It just shrinks in just several days. It is just painful to watch. Remaining kernels mostly stay hanging, some of them hang even until next spring. The leaves appear to be all healthy. Birds, yes there are some birds in the yard at that time of the year, but my observation is that they feed themselves at that time from the ground, there was none on the cherry. Crazy! @Bamboo
    – Alex Alex
    May 31, 2021 at 18:09
  • If it is of some significance: This cherry tree never produced full crop, the behavior described above has been happening since square one.
    – Alex Alex
    May 31, 2021 at 18:22
  • That is significant if its had a problem since it was planted - so far, I've drawn a blank as to the cause,but it might just be a problem that particular tree has had since you got it. Will keep looking....
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2021 at 20:59


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