Follow

Looking for help on what's wrong with my apple tree.

Some parts of the tree have started shrivelling and going brown, whilst the rest looks healthy. In my 'pests and diseases' book, the only think close to what this looks like is frost damage, but we haven't had frost for months. I cannot see any pests on it, so figure it must be some kind of disease, but what?

Any ideas? And if so, any suggestions on what to do?

Hey all, I've now received plenty of useful feedback re the apple tree, so no further boosts needed. Thanks everyone, really really appreciated 🍎

@GwenfarsGarden personally looks like rot or something to me. I don't ever know the correct name for it.

I think the best thing you can do it prune that branch area to make sure all affected branches are gone. Because it got infected with something.

I've seen this on plants I worked on before. Removing all traces and then moving forward from there usually works for me. I'm pretty sure the wood should be squishy there.

@magicalmilly thanks, this is really helpful. Some bits did look like it was rotting, but for some reason this wasn't in my book.

I shall prune all those bits out. TBH, I think this tree is on it's last legs anyway, but I'll see if I can save it.

@GwenfarsGarden I miss botany a whole lot, but I was really good with plants.

If the wood is squishy or starting to come apart from the marrow inside, it's probably infected.

@magicalmilly this is an 'inherited' Apple tree when we moved here. The fruit didn't taste very good, but I was giving it another year to see if it improved. I've been trying to take really good care, but I think it was left untended for a few years, and this is the result.

@GwenfarsGarden @magicalmilly remember to disinfect whatever you use to prune the sick tree. Not a bad idea to dip your pruners into disinfectant after every cut

@GwenfarsGarden @luminesce @magicalmilly
*dons microbiologist hat*
I recommend dilute (10% solution?) chlorine bleach rather than "antibacterials": lots of plant pathogens will be fungal or viral, and antibacterials will do nothing. Also, antibacterials are a minor form of pollution..
Be mindful that chlorine bleach, left in contact with metal, will likely corrode it, so rinse thoroughly and promptly after use.
Sorry if that comes over pedantic! :)

@cathal @luminesce @magicalmilly I don't have any chlorine bleach. Anything else similar?

All I have are natural products, including vinegar and tea tree oil.

@GwenfarsGarden
@luminesce @magicalmilly
Sodium/calcium hydroxide might do also, or ("or", never mix with bleach or hydroxides) peroxides, but I couldn't advise on concentration. But watch out if making strong hydroxide from powder as it heats up while dissolving or diluting, so can be a hazard if incautious.

@GwenfarsGarden Are you in the US? If so, look for your nearest Extension service -- colleges and some other government offices often host them -- sometimes they need a clipping brought them. (In a sealed plastic bag!)

@GwenfarsGarden I'm surprised the UK doesn't have a regional-gardening-advice system, especially for fruit trees and their relatives.

@clew everything in the UK is based around London and the South-East. It's an ongoing grumble for those of us who live elsewhere.

@GwenfarsGarden Even AGRICULTURE? Good grief. Worse than a grumble.

@GwenfarsGarden are there any fungal bodies on the tree? Looks like a bad infection, I'd say remove those branches asap and look for any neighboring trees w similar symptoms.

@glitterwitch am thinking it is something like this. I'm going to remove all the affected branches and see if that resolves it.

@glitterwitch yeh, I think this is it, and will remove the diseased tress immediately.

It's the only tree, one I inherited when I moved in last year. Am planning on planting two new apple trees in the autumn, so it this one doesn't improve, I think it's going to have to go as I don't want to risk it passing on the disease to the new trees. The fruit last year didn't taste any good, so it was on trial this year anyway

@GwenfarsGarden we had a similar situation with our tree last summer. after talking to a few people i assumed something fungal, treated with... some kind of sesame oil solution i think? and possibly neem oil on the theory that it might be mites? some vaguely crunchy organic nonsense in both cases, tho my dad recommended a fungicide.

it _seems_ mostly recovered, but i'm unclear on whether treating it had any effect.

@GwenfarsGarden
My guess is it's some kind of infection, but I'm not sure what exactly. From what I know, an important thing to check is the bark. The more serious diseases, like bacterial infections, can cause patches of bark to turn brown and die off. Those ones are potentially deadly.

On the other hand, if the bark is fine but the leaves are dying off, the problem could be with the roots.

How's the weather been recently? Has it been abnormally wet? Humid? Hot? Dry?

@InvaderXan that's ok. It's helpful that several people has said the same or similar thing.

I just had a look and some branches are starting to rot, though others are still healthy. So I'm going to remove the rotted ones and see how it goes.

The tree was on 'trial' this year because the fruit didn't taste very good last year, so I thought I'd see what happens this year before I decide it's fate. Getting rot is sadly not helping it...

@GwenfarsGarden
If it's affecting the branches like that, then I think it may be fire blight.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_bli

It's a nasty and contagious bacterial disease. If this is what's wrong, I'd be very careful if you have any other Rosaceae growing in your garden, especially apples, pears, and raspberries.

Ideally, try to remove any rotten branches from the garden altogether. Otherwise, the bacteria can still be spread around by insects.

@InvaderXan gosh, that's worrying. Does seem like that's what it might be.

Am wondering how to dispose if the infected parts. Obviously don't want to put them in my compost bin. Not sure if I should put it in the council's green waste bin?

@GwenfarsGarden
I'm not certain, but it seems like a possibility. Of course it could easily be something far more benign. Try to take a closer look and see if you can confirm the diagnosis or not.

As for disposing of infected tree bits, I'm honestly not sure. Maybe you could speak to someone at the Forestry Commission to get some advice? I was told they're usually quite frendly.
gov.uk/government/collections/

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Sunbeam City 🌻

Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.