A Northstar sour cherry tree was one of the first things I planted when we moved to this house, 11 years ago. It is what enabled me to call the mini fenced off garden area “the orchard” which I think still makes people wonder about me- um, rampant raspberries, a horizontal apple tree, some wayward herbs and a dead cherry tree? That’s an orchard?
Ha! The cherrry tree isn’t dead, I found out today- it actually has one major branch that is still alive, with buds breaking out and everything. The sprinkler is on it now, and it will get a scoop of compost, and as soon as everything that is going to leaf out does, I will go in with a pruning saw and take out dead wood. The major branch that is still alive will make a new leader, and we’ll see how well it does.
My hope is that the root system is still healthy enough that the one living limb can become the new leader. I am guessing that lack of moisture is the problem with this tree. The herbs and strawberries that are the understory of the orchard thrive without supplemental irrigation. What the lemon balm, chives and spring bulbs need, in terms of water, is much less than what the cherry needs. I need to solve that problem this summer. I have been building the soil with mulch and compost, and I’ll continue to do that. This could be a case of the tree solving its own problem- not enough water for a mid sized tree? Okay, kill off some branches, here’s enough water for a tiny tree.
I will ahve to decide, at some point, when to cut my losses, take out the tree and replace it- what do you think? One more year?