How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Cherry Mottle Leaf

Pathogen: Cherry mottle leaf virus

(Reviewed 11/09, updated 11/09)

In this Guideline:

Cherry mottle leaf virus is spread via budding and grafting with infected wood and can be spread from infected bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata, or infected but symptomless peach trees to sweet cherry by the bud mite Eriophyes inaequalis. Spread by mite vectors in the field is rare, however, in California. Cherries grown in foothill locations where bitter cherry occurs are at greater risk of infection.

Cherry mottle leaf infections are usually symptomless except on highly susceptible sweet cherry cultivars that exhibit chlorotic mottling, distortion, puckering of younger leaves, and small fruits that ripen late. The margin between yellow and green is not as sharp as it is with other viruses.

Mottle leaf is controlled through the use of certified nursery stock. In nurseries, the use of virus-free budwood keeps the disease from becoming a problem. Remove bitter cherry trees near cherry orchards, and remove any orchard trees that develop symptoms.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cherry
UC ANR Publication 3440


J. E. Adaskaveg, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside
J. L. Caprile, UC Cooperative Extension, Contra Costa County

Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:
W. D. Gubler, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
B. L. Teviotdale, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier

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