Apple Tree - dead leaves

Asked June 24, 2014, 9:26 PM EDT

Our apple tree, about 15 to 20 years old started showing some dead leaves although most leaves look healthy. Attached are a couple of pictures. We have never had any issues with this tree before. We usually get a crop of apples every 3-5 years. This year we have apples. Can you tell us what could be happening with our tree? We're not sure of the variety the apple tree. Thank you.

Jefferson County Colorado

1 Response

Your tree has the bacterial disease fire blight. This disease is rampant this year, largely due to our moist spring. Hail events throughout the area have also created wounds in plant tissue, making openings for the bacteria to enter.
Right now, you can prune out the affected tissue, 6-12 inches below the visible signs of infection. Be sure to sanitize your pruning tool between each cut according to the directions given in this fact sheet:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02907.html
In our climate, fire blight rarely kills landscape trees; it is largely an aesthetic problem. Great pictures!