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  • From: Ginda Fisher <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Mr. Wagner's trees
  • Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 10:29:53 -0400

On Apr 30, 2011, at 5:38 PM, Richard MURPHY wrote:

> Some things it could be:
> The first and most devastating thing it might be is rodent damage; voles or
> mice.
> Have your trees been nibbled at the soil level, or at the roots?
> The second thing is Borers, but less likely.
> The third thing is too much fertilizer in the fall.
> The fourth is too much Round up.
> The fifth is the Winter Moth worms that have gotten in the buds and eaten
> them.
> Isn't this fun?
> Murph

I think drought could be a problem, too. The reason many plants go dormant
in the winter is to protect themselves from drought, since the water is
frozen and not really available to the roots. But I bet that even frozen,
roots get a little benefit from damp soil, if only that damp frozen soil
doesn't draw water out of the roots. But if you have extremely dry soil, it
might do that.

It does seem odd that you lost a random selection of lots of different types
of plants. I find that rodents and even borers have distinct preferences. I
had LOTS of rabbit damage to my apple trees last winter, for instance, but
one seems to have briefly nibbled on the apricot and decided to leave the
rest of that tree alone, and there is not even a nibble on any of the three
young redbuds.

Winter moths can completely defoliate trees as they are budding out, but you
might have noticed the buds swelling, and the twigs would still be green. A
mature tree will put out a second flush of leaves, and can survive a single
season of early defoliation. (Your baby trees might not survive it, but they
wouldn't instantly look dead.)

It is unlikely to hurt anything to irrigate your dry soil well in the fall,
so trees go into the winter fully hydrated. Icy waterlogged soil can prevent
the roots from breathing, so I don't think you want to do a lot of winter
irrigation, but you might try a little.

Better luck next year.

eastern MA, where we are in the midst of the same compressed bloom time that
Alan spoke of. I've never seen the apricots and apples overlap blooming, but
they did this year, barely.

  • Re: [NAFEX] Mr. Wagner's trees, Ginda Fisher, 05/01/2011

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