Stone fruits in my garden suddenly developing this.. Please help - any stone fruit experts!


I live in New Zealand - in an area classified as 8b (USDA) and it is mid-summer here.
Apart from being a bit windy here and then, and a few days of heavy rain, the weather has been fine, and warm.

In the last few days, I’ve noticed the growths on my Lapins/Rainier cherries suddenly turn very dark, and some leaves are even dry. I have also noticed my plum victoria tree experience the same thing.

What is this and what do I do?

I’ve provided a picture below. Thank you for your time and help! :heartbeat:

Here’s another one!

Windburn? Too much water perhaps? Could you post a picture of the plum trees too?

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Was fertilizer applied recently? It looks like it could be excess nitrogen. Could the recent rain have caused fertilizer run-off to get into your trees?

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Thank you for your help! Here is a pic of my Victoria plum tree
Screenshot 2023-02-09 200641

They are all potted plants, and I haven’t added new fertilizer. The most I’ve given them was cinnamon and coffee grounds.

They are all potted in large, 65L pots, and I water them only when the top soil is dry. The pots have plenty of drainages too, so I don’t believe it’s a water issue.

Thank you for the help so far!

There is something seriously wrong. Not all potting soil is equal and a serious gardener neighbor of mine lost all of his starts last year by using a poor quality mix sold as “organic” potting soil. I never checked to see what was the nature of that soil (I only gave him replacement plants from my surplus), to determine if it contained a toxic ingredient or if it simply didn’t supply adequate drainage.

I apologize if you are using a commercial grade potting soil of the same brand you have for years but if you planted them into its current mix recently maybe that’s the problem. What brand of potting soil do you use and have you taken a plant out of its pot to see what’s happening to the roots? Is there fresh new white growth?



Thank you for your reply.

I looked into the soil - it’s made from a trusted brand and most gardeners in my area use it. I’m not too sure whether that is the problem, but I will lift up my trees to check the roots today.
In the meantime, I’ve noticed such growth on one of my plum trees. Any thoughts?

Heres another picture

It looks like it’s growing long, and thin. The leaves look like they are spaced out waaaay too far. The leaves are elongated and very weak too.

Any chance of any herbicide exposure lately?


I also wonder about herbicide exposure.

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No, not at all. Not that I know of.

I recently sprayed the tips with pyrethrum to rule out any bugs causing it. Other than that, nothing.

I sprayed them with gibberilic acid about 2 weeks ago. It was at a pretty low concentration (7mg to a litre of water)

Other than that, I have no idea…

I posted a picture down below :slight_smile:

That’s probably what’s going on. I would think it will pass before too long. Gibberellic acid does affect growth.

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But how does it affect growth? It seems to encourage fruiting which would come at an expense to growth, but by way of siphoning energy and not by shriveling up growing shoots, as far as I can find in a quick search.

Perhaps the product used is faulty and contains an herbicide or otherwise phyto-toxic chemical.

Sometimes herbicide is spread from an adjacent property and what kills dandelions also kills fruit trees. The landscape trade is filled with a lot of hacks and someone might have sprayed the wrong chemical at the wrong time next door. This is not an uncommon occurrence around here. If a spray is on schedule it costs money to delay it just because of a little wind.

Your trees don’t seem to have gotten a lethal dose and will eventually recover, but it takes at least a season, in my experience.

You mentioned that you had hit them with GA. That could have caused the foliage to react, especially when young. I’d let the pots dry out a little bit more (maybe 1/2 to top inch of potting soil dry), elevate them off of the ground to promote more bottom drying and not spray them with anything for a month, and see how the foliage reacts.