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Sour cherry yellows

Prune Dwarf Virus (PDV)

Young leaves develop chlorotic yellow rings or mottle; shot hole may occur in severe cases or as lesions age. These symptoms rarely recur after the first year of infection. In subsequent years, leaves develop a distinct irregular green to yellow mottling and interveinal chlorosis, then drop 3 to 4 weeks after petal fall (A). Successive waves of mottling and dropping occur in response to day/night temperature fluctuations. Older trees show a willowy type of growth or bare wood from a reduction of fruiting spurs (B). Fruit are sparse but large. Similar symptoms occur on sweet cherry. Infected plum develops narrow, strap-like leaves that are thicker than normal.


The pathogen is widely distributed in the United States.

Similar Species

Sour cherry yellows may be confused with green ring mottle but can be differentiated by noting the absence of green blotches. However, the two viruses may be found infecting the same tree; thus, symptoms of both diseases may be evident.


PDV is carried on or in pollen grains and can infect seeds. The virus can be transmitted to healthy trees during pollination by bees or during propagation. PDV is managed through nursery-based virus certification programs and, in the orchard, by roguing affected trees.

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