Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Health

Q: Weeping cherry has severe infestation. What can be done?

Thursday, June 23, 2016  

Q: Can my 20-year-old weeping cherry tree be saved from bug infestation? The bark is opened on the front, and we did get rid of the bugs, but now only 1/3 of the tree bloomed and has leaves this year. Can pruning save my tree? Is it even worth paying a company to try and save it? This was a wedding shower gift (it was my money tree where the envelopes were attached to it with clothes pins), so it truly means a great deal to me. Any help you could suggest is greatly appreciated!

A: Thank you for contacting us about your tree. Some insects cause damage and some come to live in places that are otherwise damaged, so knowing what types of insects are at issue would be important in assessing the problem.

Cherry trees are members of the rose family. These trees and plants are some of our most beautiful and best loved landscape elements. Unfortunately, pests love them as much as people do; they are susceptible to a large number of insects and diseases.

If more than half of a tree¹s crown is dead, it is usually a very serious situation. You can send an inquiry to the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center (use the "Ask Experts" tab). There is a form to fill out, but importantly, also a way for you to upload pictures of the tree and damage. These will be very important to making an assessment and diagnosis. Many tree companies will come out and provide you with a no obligation proposal for treatment without a fee. If you call a tree care firm, be sure that it has a Maryland Tree Expert license issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and if any pesticides are to be applied, that the firm is licensed to do so by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

You are the only one that can determine if trying to maintain the tree is worthwhile. It sounds like this tree has been an important part of your family history. I hope that this information has been helpful to you in making decisions about your special tree.

 Michael Galvin, RCA #432, Annapolis, MD