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Diseased apple trees - can I reuse the root?

 
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I have 2x apple trees that sit in a flat ish, clay ridden soil that is quite prone to flooding in the wet. They sit under the shade of a taller canopy and have been neglected for some years, with shoots everywhere and very gnarly branches. This has all resulted in disease for both trees by way of a canker and additional fungal disease. One of the trees I have been advised, isn't salvageable - every single branch and part of the trunk is diseased significantly and I have nothing to cut back to in terms of healthy wood. If I have to fell it accordingly, there will be a stump in the ground and I figured its worth at least exploring, reusing the rootstock?

Could I graft onto the stump, healthy new scions, maybe even some that are going to be better tolerant of the conditions? Or, in general is disease going to be in the roots too, so I will only ever grow disease ridden trees here? I'm not sure if there is a reset available to me.

No idea how I would identify the age or what the rootstock is (if it even is a 'rootstock' in the modern sense). They have been there for some time, but not sure how long exactly. The site has been a mill since the 13th century and in the last couple of hundred years at least, there has been some pressing for juice happening here. They don't look this old though.

Any thoughts appreciated. Trying to avoid it just being a stump in the ground.
 
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Do you have any pictures of the trees?
 
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Hi Mj,

Your best bet is to identify the disease if possible, and replant using disease resistant scions, with a compatible disease resistant rootstock. If the disease already destroyed the tree, most likely the rootstock of your tree is also infected, along with the ground. So identifying the disease that caused the destruction, becomes crucial to selecting for disease resistant replacements. To make use of the stump, innoculate it with mushroom spawn if possible. This will help to quickly break it down, so its not just hanging around.

Fire blight is a big destroyer of apple trees, and there are new highly resistant scions and highly resistant rootstocks to choose from, if that turns out to be the cause. You will need to make sure both scion and rootstock are highly resistant to the disease or diseases in question.

Hope that helps.
 
Mj Lacey
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Do you have any pictures of the trees?









 
Mj Lacey
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Images here

Apple trees
 
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