Saturday, 6 August 2011

Apples - "Scrumptious"? I think not!

Earlier in the year I had to dispose of my Victoria plum tree, which had become diseased and was beyond redemption. Now I reluctantly have to admit that my Apple tree "Scrumptious" has gone the same way. Actually, it is obviously not the same disease because the symptoms are different. The apple tree's leaves are pale and yellow, and the fruits are stunted, wrinkly and pitted. I have concluded that the tree has a severe dose of Bitter Pit. It contracted the disease last year, but was not too badly afflicted. This year it has got steadily worse, and I do not think it is worth trying to save it.

At this time of year I would expect the fruits of this tree to be still mostly green, with perhaps a bit of a reddish tinge, but this year the few fruits are a much darker colour than ever before. Look at the contrast between my first two photos:

29 July 2010

30 July 2011

In the picture above they don't look too bad, but they are actually very small and quite soft. Look at the one on the right: you can see the uneven dimply surface. Most of the fruits have not developed and are beginning to fall off.

It's not a pretty sight, is it? I think the tree has to go! It's funny, but apple trees sometimes seem to thrive on neglect. All my TLC has been to no avail.

Fortunately the pear tree seems to be OK still. Long may it stay that way.

I have been thinking about whether I should replace the fruit trees with new ones, but I have concluded that it might be better to concentrate on maximising the yield of the Raspberries that are along the fence where the fruit trees are. I don't know if Bitter Pit is something that can linger in the soil, but it's probably best not to plant another apple tree in the same place for a year or two.


  1. Oh Mark that is very depressing, I'm sorry your tree is on its way out. I would be very sad, my apple tree is my pride and joy, so much so that I bought another one just recently. All this and not one fruit yet. Mine are Tropical Anna and Tropical Golden Dorset.

    On the other hand, your pears look magnificent. I'm yet to come across a tropical variety of them, and I will most certainly snap one up when I do. What kind are yours?

  2. I was just catching up on your blog as I've been away for a few days. Your blueberries are extremely impressive, good job! Shame about the apple tree however your pear tree looks fab. Also impressed with your tomatoes. I've had one ripe cherry tomato so far. Congrats to Sue for the Chilli Award as Sue surely is a great source of knowledge and shares it well.

  3. That's terrible Mark! I'm not sure I'd have the willpower to toss it out though - you do actually have apples, which is way more successful than my efforts so far. I have exactly the same two apple trees as Ali - maybe we'll both have success this year.


  4. Are you planning on spraying them to save them? Or is this not a safe thing to do??

  5. Ooo L, we honestly have exactly the same taste in plants!

  6. What about something in a large tub like a peach, nectarine or apricot. If our nectarine in a tub survived outside through last winter and is fruiting in it's first year you may think it is worth a go is the sunny south!

    Maybe I'm going to wish that I had never said all that.

  7. That's a real shame. As for getting rid of the tree, I'd give it another chance. Bitter pit is a calcium deficiency usually caused by dry soil conditions (like blossom end rot in tomatoes). The hot and dry weather in early spring certainly won't have helped it. I'd give it a really generous mulching around the base over the winter and perhaps a calcium nitrate foliar spray next June. Would be a real pity to ditch if if it can be rescued.

  8. I would really really love to have a fruit tree.. I would like a lemon tree, actually :D


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