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Picture of my cherry tree - can you identify the problem?

Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:41 pm
by PaganBliss


I'm totally new here, and not a great gardener, very much learning as I go.

I have had this cherry tree for just on a year, but noticed in autumn that it was developing these 'bulges' around the 'joints'. I hopped from one website to another, but couldn't figure out what it was.

So, does anyone here have any ideas or suggestions as to what it is, and maybe even what can be done with it? I have this awful feeling I am going to have to do away with it, :cry: which is horrid as it is such a young tree, and my children are so anxious to see it bloom and eventually fruit.

Thanks for any help you can give. :)

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 2:40 am
by opabinia51
I must admit that I don't recognize your problem. You may wish to cut into the bulges to see if there is some sort of fungus growing inside. Though, I'd personally recommend taking your photos to a local nursery (preferably the nursery where you bought the tree) and seeing if they can offer you some advice.

Hopefully someone else can offer you better advice. Good luck with your tree.

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:34 am
by PaganBliss
Thanks for trying, I appreciate it! Unfortunately, my nursery is about 25km away, and I don't have a car anymore, but you did twig an idea, I may be able to phone them and see if I can email the pic to them. Hadn't occurred to me until your post, so you did help a lot after all! Will let you know if I have any joy with them. Thanks again.

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:36 am
by grandpasrose
I think that you have what are called "tree burls". The cause of burls is unknown, but do not harm the tree. I am not positive of this, however, but it does not look like any of the common tree diseases. Hopefully your e-mail to your nursery might help. :wink:

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 9:37 pm
by opabinia51
Your welcome pagan. Good thing we have Val around here! :)

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:39 am
by grandpasrose
And you too Opa!! Somehow between all of us we seem to come up with a solution! :wink:

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:07 pm
by opabinia51
Here is some information on Tree Burls:

(The article talks about redwoods but, earlier in the article it stated that the same phenomenon occurs in other trees.)

Burls develop from axillary buds in the seedling redwood. This "basal burl"
(sometimes called a bud collar) persists, growing larger throughout the
life of the tree. The dormant stem tips continue slow growth and branching, but do not elongate. Unlike aerial stems of redwood, burl tissue grows downward. It forms an enlarged mass near the base of the tree above or below the soil surface. Burl tissue overgrows the root tissues at the baseof the tree. Burls may also occur well up the main stem and on branches.
Adventitious (hanging) roots often develop from burls, particularly near
the soil, but no stems develop on redwood roots. "Stump" sprouts from the burl are often incorrectly called "root" sprouts, but there is no known instance in which stems have developed from root tissue in redwood. Dormant buds rapidly elongate after the biochemical dominance of the mainstem is removed (such as when the tree is cut). In undisturbed forest
stands, a few trees may sprout from the burl. These sprouts, growing under the canopy of the main stem, are at a physiological disadvantage and rarely reach large size. In this regard, they are like branches which eventually die when severely shaded by other branches. "

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:43 pm
by PaganBliss
Wow! Thanks Opa, I did send the pics to the nursery I purchased the tree from but haven't heard back as yet, so that is very helpful. So very much to learn!

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:21 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
This is a fruiting cherry, right?

Most fruiting cherries are branches grafted onto root stock (usually a hardier cherry, but not necessarily). Often branches develop at a different rate; think of the bud union on a rose. I think that this is what's going on here...

Not harmful, just not pretty...


Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:42 pm
by opabinia51
Been doing a ton of research on Burls and lignotubers associated with trees and came across this interesting article.

Here is a little information on the anatomy of burles and lignotubers: burles and lignotubers has about twice as many storage cells (parenchyma) and 1/2 as many support tissues as regular wood. The increased girth of a lignotuber provides the necessary structural support given the lack of structural fibers.

Burles are not thought to be caused from the result of some sort of pathogen but rather are thought to be an inherited character and that in times of extreme drought, plants develop ligntubers and burles and the first leaves develop.

Lignotubers occur less frequently in poorly drained soil. Some fertilzers especially superphosphate will increase their size. (We push using organic fertilizers here so, this shouldn't be a problem). Under low phophate conditions the stored carbohydrate is converted to cell wall material of the lignotuber.

Basically, this means that your tree needs to have a well balanced fertilizer such as some sort of organic fertilizing regime. Leaf mold never hurts.

I have a lot more information but, I think that this should suffice for now.

Yes, seeing that it is the end of the growth season an organic fertilizer that is higher in phosphates and potassium and low in nitrogen will be good for your tree because it will stimulate root growth.

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:05 am
by grandpasrose
Scott, I thought of the graft at first, but then I thought it was too high on the tree, and that it was spreading to other branches? :? That's why I went with gall. :wink: