What Causes Cherry Tree Leaves To Curl

Lack of Nutrition

Cherry tree leaves are prone to curl as a result of a lack of proper nutrition. The most common issue is a lack of nitrogen, which causes leaves to become discolored, yellow, and eventually to curl. Nitrogen can be depleted by a number of factors, such as overuse of fertilizer, improper watering or soil acidity. Without sufficient nitrogen, the leaves are unable to make use of minerals and vitamins, which compromises their health and limits their ability to photosynthesize, resulting in the leaves curling up.

Climate Change

Climate change could also be a cause of leaf curling in cherry trees. High temperatures, dry conditions, as well as extreme showers and high winds, can all take their toll on a cherry tree’s foliage. In these conditions, cherry tree leaves can become damaged and can start to curl, as they struggle to combat the environmental stresses. As climate change continues, the likelihood of this type of damage to trees continues to increase.

Pests and Diseases

An infestation of pests or diseases can also lead to the leaves of cherry trees curling up. Common pests to watch out for are the aphid and the spider mite, both of which can do considerable damage to both the foliage and the fruits of cherry trees. Diseases such as virus, fungi, and bacteria can also cause leaves to curl up in cherry trees, as these can prevent a tree from getting the nutrients that it needs to remain healthy and strong.


In some cases, genetic makeup can also play a role in leaf curling in cherry trees. Some varieties of cherry tree leaves are more prone to curling than others, in which case it is important to make sure that the most suitable variety is chosen when planting a new cherry tree. There are a number of cherry varieties that are more tolerant of leaf curl, so it’s worth researching each in order to find the right fit.

Soil Conditions

Soil conditions can also contribute to leaf curling in cherry trees. Soil that is too wet or too dry can lead to leaves curling up, for example, as can an overly high or low level of fertilization. All of these conditions can cause leaves to become discolored and to start to curl, as the lack of or overabundance of certain nutrients compromises the health of the leaves.

Time of Year

Finally, the time of year can also be a factor when it comes to leaf curling in cherry trees. In the cooler months, particularly late winter and early spring, leaves can sometimes curl up due to the prolonged absence of sunlight and the longer periods of darkness. This is particularly noticeable when light levels are low during these months, such as on cloudy days.

Lack of Pruning

Another potential cause of leaf curling in cherry trees is a lack of pruning. Pruning is important for a number of reasons, such as removing dead and diseased branches, encouraging new growth, and controlling the size and shape of the tree. Without pruning, trees can become overcrowded, making it difficult for light and air to reach the leaves. This can lead to the leaves becoming discolored and to curling up.

Too Much Pruning

However, it is important to also note that too much pruning can also cause leaf curling. Over-pruning can shock the tree and can weaken it, which can then cause leaves to curl up as a result of the stress. The best way to prune a cherry tree is to remove about one-third of the branches each year. This will help to promote healthy growth and will minimize the risk of leaves curling up.


Irrigation is another important factor to consider when it comes to leaf curling in cherry trees. The fact is that cherry trees have specific irrigation requirements, depending on the variety and the climate in which it is growing. An insufficient amount of water can, of course, lead to a deficiency in nutrients and minerals, causing leaves to curl up as a result. Conversely, too much water can also have a similar effect, leading to the curling of leaf edges.

Temperature Change

Finally, temperature change can be another factor when it comes to leaf curling in cherry trees. Cherry trees are particularly sensitive to sudden temperature shifts, meaning that any prolonged exposure to either extreme heat or cold can cause the leaves to start to curl. As a result, care should be taken to make sure that cherry trees are protected from extreme temperatures, whether that’s through providing shade or a form of protection from the wind.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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