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Granny Smith apple tree with brown and black leaves

 
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good morning all! I'm new to this so any help would be appreciated. I have a granny Smith apple tre that I planted last spring. This year it has started developing brown spots and dying leaves.

It's gotten plenty of water as its been raining off and on last few weeks. There are no pets around, and also no pests that I can see. Last year I sprayed a fungicide on it as was told to do so by a local nursery. I don't understand what is happening, or how to mitigate this issue.

Any help would be very grateful for.

Thanks!
 
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Welcome to permies Nicole!

It sounds like maybe apple scab. If you've got a photo that would help a lot in identifying what it is.

My supposedly Granny Smith apple tree (haven't gotten any fruit yet to verify) has really been struggling with fireblight. I haven't seen any apple scab yet. The severity of the diseases though can vary greatly based on your area and the specific disease pressures there.

This guide may be helpful.

Disease Susceptibility of Common Apple Cultivars

It lists Granny Smith as Susceptible to apple scab and Very Susceptible to fireblight and powdery mildew.

I've found that growing varieties that are resistant to diseases that are most damaging in the local area when possible, can make the world of difference when trying to grow them without spraying. Also building rich and healthy soil can help the tree naturally fight off diseases better.

Hope this helps a little, and I hope your tree recovers quickly!

 
Nicole Nichols
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This is what it looks like. It not everywhere, only on a few leaves.
20200508_093748.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20200508_093748.jpg]
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 1961
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
746
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I'm pretty sure it's fireblight unfortunately. My tree looks the same way.

From what I've seen, it usually affects the younger branches most on a healthy tree, but it can spread to the older branches also. I have seen it infect branches that were a few years old on my pear tree, and sadly it ruined a whole crop of pears this year.

I'm trying to decide what to do with my apple tree, whether I want to try to keep it and see what happens, or go ahead and replace it. I have some baby apple trees, so I will probably just replace the Granny Smith with one of them, since fireblight gets even worse when the tree starts flowering, as the flowers are a prime site for the infection to enter and spread.

My pear tree that did lose the crop this year has made a good sized crop before, so it should be possible for the tree to produce a crop, just maybe not reliably, depending on weather conditions, bloom time,  and other factors that may affect the severity of the fireblight.

Some natural ways that may help the tree fight it off, if you decide to keep the tree, include making sure that the soil it grows in drains easily and is not waterlogged, and creating soil that is full of organic matter from mulching with leaves, branches, logs, and other plant debris, which can help provide the right nutrients and encourage beneficial fungi that will greatly help the tree's immune system!

Hope this helps a little and hope your tree recovers quickly and thrives for many years!
 
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