This spring I blogged several times about my Bali cherry tree and my efforts to prevent the blossoms from freezing during our warm/cold/warm/cold April. I’m happy to report that many of the cherries did survive and, in some ways, I had a productive cherry season with a big harvest, most of which I pulled off the tree earlier in July.
That’s the good news. The bad news: There were worms in a lot of the cherries. There is a cherry fruit fly that is a threat to cherry crops in many states, and I could have that, though I’m pretty sure mine is the only cherry tree in the vicinity. It’s also possible my tree was infected with the larvae of the plum curculio, a common pest on apples, plums (of course) and other fruits in Minnesota. The larvae look similar in both pests (little white worms), so I’m not sure what the cause is. The lifecycle is also somewhat similar — with flies laying eggs in fruit, larvae eating the fruit (on or off the tree), pupating in the ground, emerging as flies, causing more fruit damage, then laying low over the winter in the soil before emerging to mate and lay eggs.
Controlling for the pests may be challenging — the best organic approach is sanitation. I picked up all the fallen cherries around the tree to make sure none of the little worms matured. (I’ve also been much more diligent this year about picking up and throwing away fallen apples.) Next year, I will consider putting landscape fabric and mulch around the tree to prevent the flies from hatching near the tree. Beyond that, most sources recommend spraying. I will probably give it another year before considering that route.
In the meantime, I did get enough worm-free cherries for about one pie. If we ever get a break in the heat, I plan to bake one and eat my piece very slowly.