What a beautiful pink performance that nature provided this spring . . . . then, she turned on the oven. Most of you have noticed that the health of our cherrished trees has suffered. Defoliation has occurred due to heat stress and shot hole disease.
If your trees are affected, it is imperative to rake and dispose of the fallen leaves. Bagging and leaving them at the street for landscape waste pick-up is an acceptable means of removal. Do this soon and often / prior to cutting the grass so that as many fungus spores can be collected & eliminated as possible. Also, spraying fungicide into the canopy and removing dead branches is recommended.
If you followed the recommended “treetment” instructions that we circulated last year (pruning and application of fungicide), please tell us how your trees fared compared to others in your neighborhood. Also, let us know of anything you did that you believe improved their health, so that we can share with others.
If your trees have experienced signs another disease such as bores or (Black Knot) galls, please report that to us.
We still don’t know how well our trees will tolerate successive severe weather assaults, but we must not stand by and watch our trees deteriorate! We are determined to create an improved variety of Yoshino that will live longer and be more resistant to disease. We have discriminately selected four cherry species to evaluate as possible candidates to use as rootstock for Yoshinos.
This involves growing saplings from seeds or cuttings, then growing them to an adequate size to graft a Yoshino bud or shoot onto. We currently have these in various stages of development, but anticipate it taking at least two years to be at a point of evaluation. After we establish the favored rootstock, escalation of production can begin. We are currently busy building and expanding the facilities in our walk-out basement to accommodate the increasing volume of plants.
You don’t see fruit cherries in middle Georgia, because it is too hot for them here. There is a species of black cherry tree that does grow in the wild, however. Such a native species rootstock could be the best possible rootstock we could find. If you, or someone you know, has wooded property that is home to some of these, please let us know. We would be appreciative if we could harvest (dig up and pot) a few “finger-size” ones. This would give us a head start by possibly grafting some next spring. We have just received some of this type of seed, but (like all cherry seeds) they require about 2 months in the refrigerator (to mimic winter) before they will sprout.
In the meantime, we definitely need your help to keep our existing trees alive and healthy. Please respond with you thoughts and ideas.
Although we’re not a “Facebooker”, tonight I launched the shell of a page called “Macon Blossoms”. Please help us spread the word by “friending” and “liking” us. I will make frequent posts, but we are counting on yours too! This effort requires everybody’s help!
Macon Blossoms Coordinator
Master Gardener of Central Georgia
Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commissioner