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Hi Peter! I am hoping that you can help me in diagnosing a problem with a 25 year old Japanese Cherry tree. The leaves have begun to turn yellow and drop. Our soil is primarily clay and shale, but the tree was planted in a prepared garden. It is situated about ten feet from a road, so I am wondering if winter salt could be an issue. Any help that yo can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Laurie Jacobson llkj@nycap.rr.com

There are several reasons this can happen.  Chances are that it is a fungal disorder due to the very damp summer we’ve had.  Here’s a link that my help you determine what it is:  https://ask.extension.org/questions/207426

I doubt that it is salt damage…that would have shown up earlier in the season.

Cherries, like other fruit trees are susceptible to a host of insects and diseases so starting a spraying program in spring before symptoms show up is the best approach.  Also make sure that you haven’t planted it too deep or piled mulch up against the bark.  You should always be able to see the original  “crown” or spot on the stem where the original soil level was.

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