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I have a 3-year-old cherry tree which is losing its leaves early this year. They appear to be drying and wilting from the middle (large vein) outward. What would cause this?

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Notes:

  • Located in northern Utah. We've had a hot and dry summer, but my other fruit trees (including cherry) aren't showing this problem.
  • Tree was attacked by aphids in late spring/early summer. Treated with neem oil and leaf removal. Very few aphids seen currently.
  • Lots of grasshoppers in area. Might they be nibbling the veins for moisture?
  • I've been reading about cherry tree leaf scorch, but this doesn't match the pattern of dry spots I see in photos of that disease.

Thanks!

Edit: Here's the back of one of the affected leaves. back of leaf

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  • Anything going on under the leaves, particularly along the central vein?
    – Bamboo
    Aug 25, 2021 at 14:23
  • @Bamboo I've added a photo of the back. Maybe something is nibbling the vein away? Aug 27, 2021 at 19:58
  • Thanks, but looking closely at the first image of the upper side (and now I've seen the underside) looks like something got into that vein - top of the first image, at the end of the vein, looks like something in there, like a caterpillar or larvae - looks lime green compared to the leaf, but its out of focus, can't see it properly. Have a look with a magnifying glass, though it may have gone by now, caterpillars turn into flying insects like moths. I'm guessing something laid or injected an egg into the vein, it hatched out and ate its way along the vein, feeding off the sap stream...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 27, 2021 at 22:57
  • Trouble is, I don't know what the pest is, never seen a leaf invader that just occupies the central vein on a leaf... Leaf miners excavate throughout the leaf, other caterpillars skeletonize the leaves, leaving the central vein intact.
    – Bamboo
    Aug 27, 2021 at 23:12

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