Three accompanying photos show an ornamental cherry tree, approx. 6' tall - full sun, otherwise happy in its location [overall view + two close-ups of base of trunk and mid-trunk]. Sap is oozing from various sites on the trunk. 1) Is the tree kaput, or is there hope for its survival?, and 2) if recoverable, what steps should be taken to aid its survival?
Thanks for your diagnostic and "curative" suggestions.
Cherry trees in general are not long lived trees. When trees are subject to drought, planting too deeply, poor drainage, etc. hgic.umd.edu/_media/documents/HG86.pdf they are more susceptible to disease and insect problems such as cankers and boring insects. The presence of gum or sap on cherry trees can be a natural response to defend wounds on the tree caused by things like bark cracks, insect feeding, mower injury or drought. This is the tree's natural response to a source of stress.
You can look for holes along the trunk and the branches and look for possible boring insects. Borers can cause sap to ooze from holes in large branches and/or in the upper or lower trunk. You may have to scrape away the gummosis and look for holes. The peachtree borer usually girdles the tree around the root crown. Heavy infestations can cause branch dieback. One or two borers can kill a tree. No chemical control is recommended. Look at our plant diagnostic website for more information and photos http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=151
When the root system of the tree is damaged by drought it can often result in canker diseases. If the problem is caused by bacteria or fungus, there is nothing that can be done on the main trunk. If there are cankers on branches, prune them out and dispose of infected wood. Prune on warm, dry days and do not leave stubs. Try to keep the plant healthy and water during dry periods. Keep mulch away from the trunk of the tree. Do not use pruning paint. Trees protect themselves from invasion by decaying organisms. This is a natural process called compartmentalization.
At this point, Prune out any dead branches, rake fallen leaves to prevent any overwintering fungal spores, and water the tree during dry periods to maintain vigor. Make sure mulch is no thicker than two inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. See our publication on ornamental fruit trees www.hgic.umd.edu/_media/documents/hg93.pdf
You may want to contact a certified arborist for an onsite diagnosis. See the attached link www.treesaregood.org/