[NAFEX] Trouble in paradise? (apple tree)

dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Mon Apr 28 01:14:05 EDT 2008


I blew up your image and enhanced it and it sure looks like borer canals 
running up and down the left side of the damaged area to me.  I might be 
wrong, but I would still suspect borers caused the problem.  Once they bore 
through the bark and begin entering the live tissue of the tree, that part 
of the tree no longer takes up nutrients to the remainder of the tree.  The 
leaves on that side of the tree will yellow and some die off due to lack of 
nutrients.  In the spring, there isn't enough tissue to be fed yet, so 
everything seems to be coming out.  Once the amount of tissue has been 
produced that is greater than the nutrients being taken up, the leaves will 
yellow and die off as you describe in your last paragraph.  I hope you are 
right and it is not borers, but a trunk spray to protect the area won't hurt 
and you could  also wrap the area with tree wrap to prevent borers from 
attacking the area.  If they are not the culprit, you don't want to give 
them any ideas!  Hope this helps!

Dennis Norton
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve" <sdw12986 at aol.com>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:13 PM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Trouble in paradise? (apple tree)

> 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:
> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8da06b3127cceb7bd25dee78f00000025103AaNmrJi4Ze
> (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: 
> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8da06b3127cceb7bd25db66ba00000026103AaNmrJi4Ze
> 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
> Steve wrote:
>> 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:
>> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8df24b3127cceb36cc2fe5ae800000036103AaNmrJi4Ze
>> As you can see, 80 or 90% of the leaves have fallen on this branch.
>> This branch was grafted over to Connel Red:
>> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8df24b3127cceb36cc2e3dbc500000036103AaNmrJi4Ze
>> 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:
>> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8df24b3127cceb36cc2efdbc900000036103AaNmrJi4Ze
>> 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:
>> http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8df24b3127cceb36cc2d7dbf100000035103AaNmrJi4Ze
>> 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).

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