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Brown Ooze on Ornamental Cherry

Howdy all. I was out in the garden today, lovely but windy for December. As I was helping my daughter with her bike I noticed some rather odd brown gooey blobs around the base of our Prunus 'Ukon' ornamental cherry tree. My daughter initially thought it was cat vomit (yum!) but when I looked closer the brown ooze seemed to be coming from all around the very base of the tree trunk. The tree, we've had for about 6 years, has always been healthy and has only ever been pruned in July. I scraped soil from around the base of the tree and there was more ooze, lumpy and browny-honey coloured. I'm thinking it may be canker, which would be a bummer as we love the tree. Any ideas? If it is canker, should I dig it out and what could I replace it with?

Best regards,


South Birmingham


  • Hi Jay, don't panic, it could just be gummosis, which is natural oozing of sap on healthy trees. Are there any other signs of bacterial canker on the tree, for example sunken, dead patches on the branches? If so, prune these out to prevent the infection spreading and keep a close eye on it. You won't need to replace the tree if it's young and the infection is dealt with quickly. If the tree is otherwise healthy though, just give it a good mulch in spring.


  • Hi Kate, and many thanks for your reassuring reply. The tree has always looked healthy and seems to be budding up nicely for spring. I cannot see any other outward signs of injury or abnormality on the tree. The base of it is surrounded by cyclamen, growing in a mulch of alpine grit and they've been flowering their merry socks off since September, Should I scrape away some of this and replace with garden compost as the mulch? Thanks again, Jay
  • Hi Jay, I'd wait for the cyclamen to finish flowering and then lay a thick mulch, so you don't ruin your dislay.


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