Dying Apple Trees

Asked April 18, 2016, 11:37 AM EDT

My 20 year old apple trees are dying. Small stunted leaves & fruit. Trees also come into bloom in September when the years crop is ripening. They do not survive the winter. Tree lost in 2013 = Connell Red Trees lost in 2015 = Harlared & Honneycrisp Have the same issue with an 8 year old Snowsweet last year. I pruned the tree back this winter & this spring the tree is budding & it looks like it will have allot of blossoms.

Stearns County Minnesota apple trees

3 Responses

Can you tell me anything else about what the leaves look like when the trees are dying. Do they turn yellow or brown, get spots, fall from the tree early? Is all of the fruit damaged or just some? Do any of these pictures look like your fruit? http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/fruit/apple/fruitdeform.html . Any other info you can think of would be helpful. Were they watered during the dry years?

I spray my trees with Bonide Fruit Tree Spray about every two weeks beginning in July after having apple maggot issues several years ago.

The tree are watered because they are near my garden. The trees would bud & bloom but the leaves would be stunted with no noticeable growth on the stems. The fruit would end up being about the size of a golf ball. Two of the trees bloomed again in the fall but never came back the next spring.

One of my neighbors lost a large basswood tree in their yard that had similar issues. This tree died from the top down.

Your problem is unusual and does not really indicate some specific apple disease or insect. It sounds as if the damage is occurring when it is just leafing out and producing fruit since neither develop and there seem to be no leaf spots. I can't help but wonder if there is some possibility that it could be due to herbicide damage. Is there any way that the trees could be exposed to drift somehow. Do you live in a rural area or have a neighbor that sprays some sort of herbicide. I assume that your garden has no problems. If you don't believe that there is any possibility that it could be that then about all I can suggest is that you could send a sample to the plant disease clinic if you experience the same problem this year as soon as it appears that the leaves are not developing to a normal size. You could also watch for aphids that could feed on developing leaves and fruit and cause damage early or for powdery mildew. Trees will sometimes bloom again when they are under stress such as from drought. It seems very strange that your neighbors basswood tree would have the same problem as your apples. Here is a link to the plant disease clinic. http://pdc.umn.edu/services-fees .