[NAFEX] Trouble in paradise? (apple tree)
sdw12986 at aol.com
Sun Apr 27 13:13:21 EDT 2008
Replying to my own post (below) from 5 or 6 weeks ago. Back then, the
ground was still deep in snow. Now it has all melted and the ground
dried out enough for me to flop onto the ground and investigate the dead
area on my apple trunk. The general consensus was that I probably had
borers. Last weekend I flicked off the loose bark and used a sharp knife
to find the live edges. I trimmed back the edges until I found live
tissue. As you can see from this picture, there is no borer damage, just
smooth wood with (now) no bark:
(See the pre-surgery picture below. It's the last link.)
I'm not surprised by this. I never believed I had borers.
I was a little afraid that it started as collar rot, and that made the
dead area. I kind of doubt it now. The dead area does not quite go to
the ground. I encountered live bark right at the soil line. Besides,
there is good water drainage since the tree sits on the brink of a drop
off so that right next to it, the ground goes 2 feet lower:
If you remember (or read below), my original concern was the branches
above the bark defect had all the leaves turn yellow and fall off
several weeks before the healthy side of the tree lost leaves. I
expected those branches to be dead this spring.
The BIG surprise is that those branches are waking up right along with
all the other apple branches. It's still early here and the green tips
are only a quarter inch long with the tips of the flower bud just
visible inside. EVERYTHING looks normal right now. I'm not celebrating
too much, because I have the memory of one of my first apple trees
(before I knew to take care selecting hardy cultivars). That tree leafed
out as normal one spring, then in June when the new shoots were 3 or 4
inches long, most of the branches just wilted and dried up. Apparently a
victim of winter injury to the trunk.
Thanks for reading.
Steve in the Adirondacks
> When I first joined this group last year, I told that I had 4 apple
> trees, 3 of which I have grafted to multiple varieties. (I have other
> fruits; sticking to apples here.)
> I'm afraid one of my multi graft trees is doomed. It has taken me a
> while to get around to asking the questions. I took these pictures last
> September on Labor Day Monday! The problem is that the branches on the
> north side of the tree had the leaves turn yellow and fall off early.
> About 3 branches were completely bare by the end of September, long
> before the first frost and long before any leaves were lost on other
> branches and other trees. Twice, over the last 20 years, I have had a
> whole tree (one cherry and one plum, I think) loose the leaves early
> and, of course, it was completely dead in the spring.
> Here is a branch that was grafted over to Red Baron:
> As you can see, 80 or 90% of the leaves have fallen on this branch.
> This branch was grafted over to Connel Red:
> This still has some green leaves but every day, more and more turned
> yellow and fell off.
> Both of these branches and at least one other tried to produce apples
> but they were not edible. Around on the other side of the same tree,
> this Sweet Sixteen branch was all business as usual:
> Last of all, here is a picture of the lower trunk. This is the north
> side, directly below the bad branches. I certainly assume this is the
> source of the problem:
> After the picture, I did a little poking around and I believe the bark
> is alive right at the soil line and below. There seems to be a dead zone
> where it looks bad in the picture. Don't suggest that it is lawnmower
> damage. I'm the only one who mows the area and I DO NOT touch the trees
> with the mower. I'm thinking it is simply some disease which is very bad
> news for this tree. I'm expecting the affected branches to be dead this
> spring. I will not know for sure until at least 2 more months. So what
> happened here? Is there anything I can try, to salvage the remaining
> part of the tree?
> Steve in the Adirondacks (zone 4 on the map, zone 3 in real life).
More information about the nafex