• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Apple tree, what to do?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have an old granny smith type apple tree in our yard that has a lot of lesions in its bark. I always thought these were just due to it being an old tree (we moved here two years ago). However I am now worried as the lesions seem rather worse, the bark is cracked and looks red underneath. Worst of all the cracking/redness extends to the bottom of the trunk and the bottom of the trunk looks horrible, there is also some kind of white fungus type thing on the tree. I wonder if the tree is stressed from being on a lean (it is bent right over) also the ground is quite heavy and damp (clay).
I am keen on getting a couple more apple trees but after a closer look at this tree and a bit of research I am very concerned it may have canker and that this may spread to any other trees I plant. 
What do you think - is this canker? If so, what shall I do - cut the tree down and dispose of the roots, stump etc? I really don't want to cut down this lovely tree that has survived years before I came along, however I don't want disease problems in my new trees. There is also another problem - there is a very similar tree in my neighbour's yard that looks to have similar old lesions, though maybe not the red lesions that mine has. So I guess if that tree has canker too my trees will be at risk anyway?

I have attempted to attach 6 photos of the tree.
Any advice you can give will be much appreciated!

Many thanks,
Kate
IMG_5705b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5705b.JPG]
Split Bark
IMG_5713b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5713b.JPG]
Split Bark 2
IMG_5717b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5717b.JPG]
Trunk Lesions
IMG_5718b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5718b.JPG]
Trunk Lesions 2
IMG_5721b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5721b.JPG]
Branch Lesions
IMG_5723b.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5723b.JPG]
Apple Tree on Lean
 
gardener
Posts: 781
Location: Ohio, USA
84
dog fish food preservation forest garden fungi solar trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We seem to have every possible disease here, so I'm constantly dancing between one plant's death and another's arrival or some environmentally friendly defense against pest and disease. There are disease resistant varieties, but that doesn't mean disease  proof. There are ways to reduce transmission, but with your neighbor's right there, you may not be able to control that.  If the canker is in danger of taking out all trees in your area, maybe patience is key. It doesn't immediately kill the trees either, so if you grow new seedlings regularly, you could always have apples... this is the strategy our black raspberry uses against orange rust. Good luck!
 
Posts: 301
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
18
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd guess the leaning is a well known problem with some rootstocks. A lot of rootstocks require support their entire life. I see some frost cracking on the trunk and some damage at the base of the trunk that could be caused by being struck repeatedly by a mower. The frost cracking will keep getting more obvious as the years go by. But it could last for many years with that problem. I notice the tree is leaning in the direction of most of the top growth.

I experimented this year with grafting a size reducing rootstock onto a rootstock that grows very well in a variety of soil types, including the clay that I have here. On top of that I grafted the varieties I wanted. I got a 100% on the 7 grafts I did. If you have a serious reason for preserving your tree, with some studying you could reproduce that tree and preserve its memories. I found that the most limiting factor is the cost to do only a few, mostly because of the shipping charges. I sold my excess this spring on eBay. I charged the actual shipping as charged by the post office. The boxes were free from them also. A couple I shipped by first class parcel for 2 or 3 bucks about 1/10th the amount that I paid to buy mine.

Next spring check around, maybe you can find one rootstock that's inexpensive even considering the shipping charges.
 
pollinator
Posts: 948
Location: Los Angeles, CA
140
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not a pom fruit expert, but those reddish spots don't seem too bad.  They may actually be an indication that the tree is growing quite aggressively.

But the tree, as a whole, needs some serious pruning.  If it were me, I'd remove that one large branch that is sticking out sideways from the tree and causing the imbalance and lean.  Its probably too late to straighten the trunk, but at least you can bring the tree back into balance and make it lean back in the right direction. 

Sometimes when a branch grows too quickly, you'll get a big split in the bark as the internal wood pushes through the static bark that surrounds it.  That appears to be the case with the picture you posted with the long scar that runs along the branch.  While it looks gnarly, it's not terrible for the tree.

 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Amit Enventres wrote:We seem to have every possible disease here, so I'm constantly dancing between one plant's death and another's arrival or some environmentally friendly defense against pest and disease. There are disease resistant varieties, but that doesn't mean disease  proof. There are ways to reduce transmission, but with your neighbor's right there, you may not be able to control that.  If the canker is in danger of taking out all trees in your area, maybe patience is key. It doesn't immediately kill the trees either, so if you grow new seedlings regularly, you could always have apples... this is the strategy our black raspberry uses against orange rust. Good luck!



I guess maybe I should persevere with this tree then... it did have a good crop of apples last year. Raising seedlings would be an interesting idea, not sure how this compares to the known resistances of rootstocks to certain diseases etc? But it does seem more natural than raising grafted trees. I may also try purchasing a couple of disease resistant grafted trees - not sure yet. Thank you for your help!
 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marco Banks wrote:I'm not a pom fruit expert, but those reddish spots don't seem too bad.  They may actually be an indication that the tree is growing quite aggressively.

But the tree, as a whole, needs some serious pruning.  If it were me, I'd remove that one large branch that is sticking out sideways from the tree and causing the imbalance and lean.  Its probably too late to straighten the trunk, but at least you can bring the tree back into balance and make it lean back in the right direction. 

Sometimes when a branch grows too quickly, you'll get a big split in the bark as the internal wood pushes through the static bark that surrounds it.  That appears to be the case with the picture you posted with the long scar that runs along the branch.  While it looks gnarly, it's not terrible for the tree.


I hope you are right and the red spots aren't anything serious. The split bark on the trunk does look suspicious to me....
I have been trying to prune it the last couple of years, I don't know about removing that big branch though - half the tree would be gone!
Thank you for your help!
 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Duda wrote:I'd guess the leaning is a well known problem with some rootstocks. A lot of rootstocks require support their entire life. I see some frost cracking on the trunk and some damage at the base of the trunk that could be caused by being struck repeatedly by a mower. The frost cracking will keep getting more obvious as the years go by. But it could last for many years with that problem. I notice the tree is leaning in the direction of most of the top growth.

I experimented this year with grafting a size reducing rootstock onto a rootstock that grows very well in a variety of soil types, including the clay that I have here. On top of that I grafted the varieties I wanted. I got a 100% on the 7 grafts I did. If you have a serious reason for preserving your tree, with some studying you could reproduce that tree and preserve its memories. I found that the most limiting factor is the cost to do only a few, mostly because of the shipping charges. I sold my excess this spring on eBay. I charged the actual shipping as charged by the post office. The boxes were free from them also. A couple I shipped by first class parcel for 2 or 3 bucks about 1/10th the amount that I paid to buy mine.

Next spring check around, maybe you can find one rootstock that's inexpensive even considering the shipping charges.



Thank you for your help! I will remove the grass and mulch around the tree to prevent any mowing injuries. I hadn't realised the cracks on the tree were due to frost.  I will have to investigate the best rootstock to get if buying a grafted tree. Shame this isn't a seedling tree, although I guess that would make it a lot bigger!
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife and I recently bought a house we have been rehabbing and to my surprise what I thought and the neighbor told me was a crab apple tree, appears to be a real apple tree! The tree has been neglected for many years as if was an old couple that owned the property. I’m trying to find out what kind of apples they are. I’d love to start my own post but I just joined and can’t seem to find where to do so. Needless to say, I apologize for the hijack of the OP’s post. Just looking for help to decifer the type of apple we have.

Thanks
 
gardener
Posts: 3477
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
814
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks like a normal tree to me. I'd prune it for balance. Other than that, it looks great.
 
Posts: 109
11
forest garden greening the desert tiny house purity trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a sideways leaning tree planted years ago at my parents place.  It's over a decade old now and gives us lots of apples.  We don't prune it, and leaning sideways doesn't hurt it.

I try to plant my trees better now so they'll be less likely to lean in the future, but I wouldn't cut down or over prune to "correct" that.  It's cosmetic in my opinion.

I wouldn't cut down a tree that might have some disease if it's producing a healthy fruit.  There's a LOT of fruit tree diseases out there.  You're further ahead, by my line of thinking, to give the tree supplementation to help it be healthier, rather than trust to luck that your next tree just magically won't have disease--as well as losing years of production while you're waiting for that tree to reach production.

To me your tree looks like it's doing good without having a lot of extra resources.  I wouldn't mess with it much.  If it was me, I'd give it some fish fertilizer and leave it alone otherwise, and enjoy years more fruit.  And plant more young trees, because you can't have too many apples!

I think sometimes the best thing to do is wait, observe, and try to learn.  What we think is the way things are supposed to be isn't always the only way things work for more natural farming / growing practices (and still often has good yields--like the "escaped" apple trees some people find that give abundant fruit in less than optimal growing conditions, with no pruning.)  Sometimes we think we have to fix things that might not actually be a problem.

Have you watched this video about pruning?


I hope you find what works for you. 
 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lori Whit wrote:I have a sideways leaning tree planted years ago at my parents place.  It's over a decade old now and gives us lots of apples.  We don't prune it, and leaning sideways doesn't hurt it.

I try to plant my trees better now so they'll be less likely to lean in the future, but I wouldn't cut down or over prune to "correct" that.  It's cosmetic in my opinion.

I wouldn't cut down a tree that might have some disease if it's producing a healthy fruit.  There's a LOT of fruit tree diseases out there.  You're further ahead, by my line of thinking, to give the tree supplementation to help it be healthier, rather than trust to luck that your next tree just magically won't have disease--as well as losing years of production while you're waiting for that tree to reach production.

To me your tree looks like it's doing good without having a lot of extra resources.  I wouldn't mess with it much.  If it was me, I'd give it some fish fertilizer and leave it alone otherwise, and enjoy years more fruit.  And plant more young trees, because you can't have too many apples!

I think sometimes the best thing to do is wait, observe, and try to learn.  What we think is the way things are supposed to be isn't always the only way things work for more natural farming / growing practices (and still often has good yields--like the "escaped" apple trees some people find that give abundant fruit in less than optimal growing conditions, with no pruning.)  Sometimes we think we have to fix things that might not actually be a problem.

Have you watched this video about pruning?



I hope you find what works for you. 



Thank you for the wise advice. I have pruned the tree lightly. I am running my bantam chooks under it to try and give the soil a boost, and am also trying a peastraw mulch.  It does provide plenty of apples, and after years of neglect,  so I do have respect for it - will keep it along with my two new apple trees, and see what happens.
I have actually recently watched that pruning video, it is very interesting. I think I may still have to prune my trees a bit as I am in an urban area, but we will see. That guy's videos make it seem like almost anything is possible - as you say, looking at things in a different way.
 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Looks like a normal tree to me. I'd prune it for balance. Other than that, it looks great.


Thank you :-)
 
Kate McNicholl
Posts: 7
Location: New Zealand
chicken homeschooling kids
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jester Beapple wrote:My wife and I recently bought a house we have been rehabbing and to my surprise what I thought and the neighbor told me was a crab apple tree, appears to be a real apple tree! The tree has been neglected for many years as if was an old couple that owned the property. I’m trying to find out what kind of apples they are. I’d love to start my own post but I just joined and can’t seem to find where to do so. Needless to say, I apologize for the hijack of the OP’s post. Just looking for help to decifer the type of apple we have.

Thanks



Jester, go to the top right hand corner of the page, you will see a tab saying 'new topic'. This will enable you to start a new thread about your apple tree, and upload some pics of it.
Blessings, Kate
 
permaculture is a more symbiotic relationship with nature so I can be even lazier. Read tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!