How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Cherry buckskin (X-disease)


Diseased trees produce pebbly, leathery-skinned, pale fruit. Cherries fail to ripen and are conical, tasteless, and tan colored. Leaves are yellow in midsummer. Only one or a few limbs may be affected. On Mahaleb rootstocks, trees may suddenly wilt and collapse above the graft union. Cherry buckskin is caused by a mycoplasmalike organism found in phloem cells of infected trees. The disease is most often spread by leafhoppers, which acquire the disease organism when feeding on diseased cherries or other plants that host it.


Remove infected limbs or entire trees. Avoid planting cherries near privet hedges or other common hosts of the leafhopper. Management of the disease through control of leafhoppers in backyard trees is not feasible.

Healthy (left) and buckskinned fruit (right)
Healthy (left) and buckskinned fruit (right)

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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