Little Cherry Disease

The cool, wet spring in 2014 revealed an outbreak of Little cherry disease virus in Washington. Our laboratory identified the cause of the disease as Little cherry virus 2, one of two viruses that cause this disease. Little cherry virus causes trees to produce smaller than normal fruit. The fruit produced doesn’t ripen normally or taste as good.

In the middle of the last century, this virus spread rapidly across the fruit growing area of British Columbia, nearly destroying British Columbia’s cherry industry. We need to be proactive to control the disease in Washington.

The first goal in developing a management strategy is to find out where the disease is located in the state. Currently, there are tests that can identify the virus but they are too expensive to be cost effective for large scale testing. The immediate goal of CPCNW’s research into the Little cherry disease is to create a test that can be used economically. You can learn more about our research on Little cherry disease in this Good Fruit Grower article or review our Little cherry fact sheet.