Monday, 27 June 2011

Apple problems

My Minarette apple tree "Scrumptious" is in trouble. A couple of long (30cm) cracks have appeared in the trunk this week.

I don't know the cause, but I have two possible explanations. The first is that the sudden over-abundance of water after a prolonged period of drought has caused the tree to split, as often happens with tomatoes when the skin cannot expand as quickly as the inside.

The second possible explanation is that the damage may have been caused by insect pests burrowing into the bark. This theory is based on the fact that there are two distinct areas affected, and not the whole trunk. Furthermore, looking closely at the photos I took, I notice that in the cracks there are lots of what look like insect eggs.

Of course it may just be that some insects have taken advantage of the crack to lay their eggs in what they consider to be a suitable place. Has anyone experienced this sort of problem before? If so, can you please advise me what I should do?

Elsewhere on the tree there is evidence of a different problem - aphids. Here you can see a "raiding party" of ants attacking the aphids. I think they "milk" the aphids of the honeydew-like substance they secrete.

The fruits of the tree are getting bigger now, but I wouldn't say that they look particularly good. Last year most of the apples were afflicted with the Bitter Pit, which is associated with lack of water and lack of nutrients. It may just be that my apple tree is located in an unsuitable spot.

Fortunately the pears are looking much better. This year my "Conference" tree has 11 fruits on it - not a huge number, I know, but more than twice as many as last year!






  2. It look like to much water. We have the same problem here, to much rain for 2011 and the tree are sick. Not good. Good luck.

  3. I found my new apple tree dug up yesterday and fallen over. I have no idea what did it but I am thinking the roosters may have helped. I replanted and am hoping for the best.

  4. The fruits still look great despite the tree's been attacked by insects. Good luck.

  5. Oh no Mark, I would die a thousand deaths if something touched my apple tree :( I love the pears, I don't know if we have a tropical variety of pear here, I will have to hunt around for one.

    I hope you can save the tree.

  6. Wow, I was skimming the article posted by Sue... cut out a section & bleach it? Hmm. Let us know if you decide any 'surgery'. Your fruits look healthy. I was trying to count my apples the other day but I got distracted - last year I think I ended up with 5 or 6.

  7. Correction - the knife gets bleached, not the tree. (See what happens when I skim an article!) lol

  8. This often happens with the trees with thin bark. But, bark splitting in winter should not be confused with growth cracks from rapid summer expansion of the sapwood. Small growth cracks will callus over and heal rapidly (unless infected), but will leave vertical scars in the bark.
    There is a special tree wound dressings to be bought in the shop to protect it from infection.


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