Is there something wrong with my Apple tree?

Asked July 15, 2017, 11:35 PM EDT

Hello! I moved into a new home a little over a month ago and planted a Honeycrisp apple tree. I bought it at Bachman's and followed the tree planting instructions and also mixed in peat moss with the dirt. I'm concerned because of how the leaves look on the tree see attached pictures it seems like they are dry? Is the tree not getting enough water? I've been watering two to three times a week for about half hour. Any feedback is very much appreciated. Thanks in advance, Michelle Dahlberg

Hennepin County Minnesota

7 Responses

A couple items. First, remove that plastic around the trunk. That is there as protection when you transport the tree. Put it in a corner somewhere and then put it back on toward the end of September to protect the trunk from voles and other critters chewing on it during the winter. It does not have good air circulation and if you leave it on now, your tree trunk may rot. Secondly, if the peat you put in your planting hole was not sopping wet at the time, it is wicking the moisture out of the soil. A better amendment would have been compost. If you can I would suggest you try to take out some of the soil around the tree and replace it with compost mixed in to your soil. If that is not possible then you need to keep watering. I do not know what your soil type is. If it is clay it is possible the water is not draining well. If it is loam or sand, it is draining but the peat may be soaking it up. Before watering, try sticking your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it is still wet at the tip of your finger, the tree does not need water. If it is dry, water longer but at a very slow trickle.

Thank you. I was able to add the compost in. There is more sandy soil there not clay. Also I know when I took the previous pictures last weekend there were no visible bugs in the tree. But today I found these 2 guys...I removed them. Should I be worried about the presence of these critters?

You found Japanese Beetles. They can strip the leaves off a plant in short order as they emit an odor which attracts others. You should pick them off and put them in a pail of soapy water. Here is information on dealing with them.

Thank you again for your continued assistance. In the beginning I just had one or two beetles on the tree and picked them off and put them in soapy water like you said. Couple days ago went back out to the tree and found numerous Beatles almost too much to hand pick it seemed. Went to Bachman's and they recommended Captain Jack's deadbug. After reading through the information you sent it seems since this is considered an organic product it may not work for these adult beetles? I sprayed last night and went to look at it tonight there were still numerous beetles on the tree any other suggestions?
Thank you.

Please go back and read through that publication on Japanese Beetles in the link I gave you. If you go down the page, there are insecticides recommended for adult beetles. It cautions that you should make sure it can be used on your tree. If your young tree has apples, then make sure it is one that is cleared for use on edible products and follow the waiting period before picking . Sometimes it is just a matter of a few days.

Thanks again. Yes I saw the list of insecticides last time but was hoping to use something organic. But I guess that just won't cut it. Will pick up some spectracide and apply this weekend. Thank you again.

There are a few low impact insecticides available. Pyola is effective but this product is short-lived and repeat applications are necessary. Neem oil is also an option. It helps deter Japanese beetles but is less effective when large numbers are present. Both of these products can be toxic to pollinators so be sure to apply them in late evening when bees are not active.