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Honey Crisp Apple top half dying  RSS feed

 
roberta mccanse
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Location: Near Libby, MT
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Two years ago I planted a Honey Crisp apple tree and a Macintosh. The Mac is doing well, we had 8 apples last year on this young tree. The Honey Crisp not so much. Branches on the top half appear to be dry and dying, there were few flowers this spring. Branches on the lower half look great, green, healthy. What is happening? Both trees get plenty of water and are planted near our septic drain field. All advice welcome.

A pie cherry tree that I planted at the end of last summer is doing well, lots of flowers, appears to be happy. (This is a product of my guerrilla composting ala David the Good, e.g. dug a three foot deep hole at beginning of summer, with help from the dog, and filled it with kitchen scraps and dirt and chicken straw, etc. over the summer. Planted the cherry in it.)
 
Marco Banks
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Is it Fire Blight?  If so, Google how to cut it out --- you've got to be aggressive in cutting it back hard, and very careful not to transfer the disease to healthy parts of the tree.
 
roberta mccanse
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I will check out fire blight. Thanks. Another possibility is apparently that, given that this tree was grafted onto some older sturdy stock, the grafted part suffered winter kill while the original stock survived and is putting out the healthy branches. I will also treat with a copper based spray in case we have some sort of rust or fungus, which seems unlikely given that only part of the tree is affected.
 
Pete Widin
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Hi Roberta!  I've been reading up some on Honeycrisp lately because a lot of people request it in the edible landscape designs I do for them. It is indeed a more susceptible variety to Frost, and is more temperamental than most varieties in general. Where are you located? I'm sure your local Extension office or Ag University can tell you of some good selections. Seed Savers Exchange has some really cool heirloom apple varieties as well. Braeburn is a common apple in Minnesota and may be more frost tolerant (ironically where the Honeycrisp was developed).

The location of your tree also may be a culprit - if the tree gets a lot of sun on winter days when it's cold, that can cause something called 'sun scald' where the bark thaws and then re-freezes quickly. This can cause ruptures in the bark and is a common cause for losing young trees and grafts.

Hope this helps a bit, Pete
 
roberta mccanse
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Location: Near Libby, MT
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Thanks for your response. I will look for another apple tree, maybe the Braeburn you suggest. Libby is in the NW corner of Montana, zone 4 for the most part. This was a hard winter. We are lucky to have an extension agent in office once a week, hard to catch her. The apples get winter sun from the south and are sheltered on the west and north by our pine forest.

I am also interested in planting trees that will do well in our climate as it becomes drier, as predicted by ecological models. I have put in two Bur Oak,  suggested by a forestry fellow from British Columbia. I will not live to see the acorns but they are drought resistant and doing well so should provide shade when the land here needs it. I intend to plant two more and another cherry. Are there walnut trees that you suggest, other than black walnut? I have one Carpathian that survived the winter, but just barely.

Again, thanks for your input.
 
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