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Apple tree diagnosis needed

 
gardener
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Lost one of my apple trees last year to what I think was the same thing. They all have this issue to different degrees, with one looking exceptionally wobbly in a slight breeze even before it leafs out

So the pictures show, if you can see it, what looks to me like a weird sort of growth, almost like a brown stubbky beard. Down low to the ground, right at the base of the tree.

Any ideas what it is, and how to treat it?

The one that does last year blew over after blooming and leafing out, almost as if it had no roots.
1BB1A372-5A35-44FA-A205-BE9F1B605865.jpeg
Apple tree 1
Apple tree 1
FD9157E9-AC13-4B39-8F09-230D3CE8840E.jpeg
Apple tree 2
Apple tree 2
6E6B2D5F-2DCD-4B4E-BCD6-8F8DCC46EDEF.jpeg
Apple tree 3
Apple tree 3
 
Artie Scott
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Here is a link to a prior post describing the first tree I lost.  https://permies.com/t/113420/Man-assist-stat-apple-tree
 
pollinator
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Burr knots
 
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Is that a columnar apple tree by any chance?

Did you mulch right up to the trunk or did you plant into a pit and then the pit filled in with mulch/etc?

I have had that before and wondered if it was from the rootstock or the graft but the apple tree is still doing fine.
 
Artie Scott
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Hi S Bengi, not a columnar apple tree - it is a southern heritage Apple variety on M111 semi-dwarf root stock.

It was not mulched at all, and the soil in the hole I planted it in was amended with lime and bone meal, but no mulch.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
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Artie Scott
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Thanks for that, Wayne!  Looks like it could be that, or possibly crown gall, although none of the pictures of either that I see on Google look exactly like it!

It could also be something else entirely that is attacking the roots - rot perhaps, maybe voles, or some other pathogen?  
 
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I would guess burr knots also.

If it's burr knots and you bury it, they should develop a nice root system that will hopefully help anchor the tree and help keep it from falling over in the future.

My hypothesis is that these burr knots form for a reason, maybe when the tree senses that it needs to send down additional roots for some reason, which may be what the other tree was doing before it fell. Just guesses though.

Hope your tree makes it Artie!
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