Cherries and black knot

I am considering getting a couple cherry trees this spring. I have a lot of wild black cherries around that are infected with black knot. Is this something that I’m going to be fighting with the cherries if I plant them? If so, is it worth trying to grow them? I already have some other stone fruit planted.

Hi Travis - We have a lot of WBC with black knot, many near the orchard and I haven’t seen any signs of it on my cherry (or plum) trees/bushes. I think there has been quite a bit of discussion on that on other threads on the site so you might want to check those out. Sue

A neighbor has a plum orchard overrun with black knot.
It spread to my plums , I can not grow plums anymore.
It has not effected sour pie cherry’s or sweet cherrys here.
Also I have wild black cherry , Prunus serotina that are uneffected.
I have seen it on what I believe to be wild choke cherrys , Prunus virginiana in states to the north of where I am. (WV.) That may be what you and Sue are calling black cherry. Surprised it does not effect her plums . May be different strains ?
Good luck

I’m surrounded with chokecherries full of black knot but so far haven’t got any on my sour cherries or plums. i do spray a few times in spring and summer just in case.

Thanks for all the responses. I will go ahead and try and get a couple varieties if I can find them and see what happens.

@Hillbillyhort - you might be right it could be a different species. I know we have P. serotina but I see it mainly on young trees. I just assumed it was the same. I also see it on wild plums, but we don’t have them right around my yard.


I would say give it a go, but definitely be aware that the wild cherry/black knot can very much spread to your trees, but it is not a given. I’ve seen neglected plum orchards get overrun with it near me, but I think if you are taking care and growing robust healthy trees with good pruning you minimize the chance substantially.

Just for reference here are the wild cherry species I am referring too growing around me : CherriesPlums.pdf (410.4 KB)

The black cherry gets infected the worst followed by the chokecherry.

The pin cherry is a faster growing, early successional species that does not lend itself to heavy infection as much.

I don’t know if this is true in a meaningful way. I manage many, many orchards in a region with plenty of diseased wild cherries that take a huge toll on most varieties of plum, but I’ve never seen so much as a single gall on a cherry tree. On Apricots, yes, especially at one highly infectious site with way too much eastern shade and wet soil. I can’t remember ever seeing a gall on a peach either. At any rate out of scores of orchards I manage or have managed it has never been an existential issue with anything besides plums.

I wish I could say the same for crown gall, which has suddenly become a huge problem for me the last two seasons. The galls look similar but that’s where the likeness ends.

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@alan now that I reread the original post I do see they were asking specifically about planting cherries. I would agree that plums seem to be the most susceptible by a big margin. Thanks for correcting my potential misinformation. There is a big difference between “is it possible” and “is it a given”. For cherries it would seem it is not a huge issue for most people.


the chokecherries get it the worst here then a few in the pin cherry. last spring i went out into the nearby field to the nw of me and cut out as many black knot i could find. hopefully our severe drought killed off any i may have missed. so far hasn’t hit my plums, apricot or sour cherries but I’ve been spraying just in case at least a few times in spring/ early summer. knock on wood!

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