My dwarf cherry trees were loaded with cherries until this morning. Something has gotten to all of them. Will they bloom and produce again this year?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Lori in Kentucky: Stone fruits, including cherries, are a bit tricky to grow in Kentucky. They are susceptible to a number of disease and insect problems. Are there any remnants of the actual fruit or were they literally eaten off the tree? If they were taken from the tree, it had to be birds that found a food source and did not stop until they harvested all your cherries for you. If there is still fruit on the tree but is half-eaten or deformed, it could be one of the many insects or disease issues these trees are prone to. The most common diseases and insects we deal with here in Kentucky are brown rot, bacterial canker, aphids, fruit fly, and tree borers. From what you described, it sounds like your trees are healthy and the fruit produced without any issues, but the birds just got to them before you. Unfortunately, they only flower/fruit once per season so you will have to wait until next year for another crop. Bird netting is always a good idea in these situations. To rule out any insect or disease problems, you can always take a sample to your county Cooperative Extension Service for analysis.