The Online Gardener's Handbook 2010
Chapter 5: Fruit

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Aphids
  3. Pear Slugs
  4. Peach Tree Borers
  5. Brown Rot
  6. Black Knot
  7. Cherry Maggots
  8. Leaf Spot
  9. Learn More


In this chapter, a description of various pests of cherry will be provided along with suggested management options. These management options will not include the use of pesticides. Some biopesticides and certain reduced risk pesticides are still available to the homeowner for controlling weeds and pests in lawns and gardens. For more information, refer to Chapter 2 of this handbook and the Ministry of the Environment's website. For suggestions on managing specific weeds and pests, consult local horticulturalists, Master Gardeners or your local garden supply centre.

NOTE FOR TREE OWNERS: There is an exception under the ban that allows you to hire a licensed exterminator authorized to use commercial pesticides to maintain the health of your tree. This exception applies only to pests that threaten the tree's health. For example, the exception cannot be applied to a pest that impacts the quality of the fruit but will not kill the tree itself. To obtain this exception, licensed exterminators are required to obtain a written opinion from a professional tree care specialist that a pesticide is necessary to maintain tree health. For more information, contact the Ministry of the Environment.

Note that many fruit trees can tolerate some damage, particularly to the foliage, without suffering lasting impacts. Pest descriptions below include suggestions for cultural controls however in many situations these may not be necessary.


For information, see Apples.

Pear Slugs

Pear slugs are the larvae of sawflies and are not true slugs. For more information, see Pears.

Peach Tree Borers

Peach tree borers attack peach, nectarine, apricot and sometimes plum and cherry trees. For more information, see Peach.

Brown Rot

Brown rot is a fungus that attacks various parts of the trees. For more information, see Apricot.

Black Knot

Black knot affects plum and sometimes cherry. For more information, see Apricot.

Cherry Maggots

Cherry maggots are related to apple maggots. The small adult fly lays eggs on developing fruit in late spring and early summer and the maggot tunnels into fruit, causing it to be small and misshapen and to fall prematurely. The maggot is yellowish-white, legless and has two dark mouth hooks. Both sweet and sour cherries are attacked. A cherry crop infested with maggots is not worth harvesting.

Management Options

Because the insects will overwinter in the soil under the tree, gather infested fruit and discard it in the garbage or bury it at least 60 cm deep. Encourage your neighbours to do the same.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot if a fungal disease that often occurs on sour cherry, but rarely on sweet cherry. Many small, red-purple spots first appear on the leaves, holes then develop, and the leaves eventually yellow and drop. The tree is weakened if this happens over successive years.

Management Options

Rake up and destroy infested leaves as they fall to reduce the level of overwintering of the disease.

Learn More

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300