Blackening of apple tree limbs

Asked June 4, 2018, 9:41 PM EDT

Submitted question re: Apple tree and if it is blight and what if anything I can do. Here are some pics. One branch bloomed and then dried up. Other branches have very dark bark on branches and down almost to base of tree. any hope? Tree is 35 years old at least. Beautiful golden delicious with big crop last few years.

Monroe County Michigan apple trees blight bark damage

1 Response

The blackened appearance could be due to fire blight, but more likely due to growth of miscellaneous sooty mold fungi on trunk exudates (sap) from wounds, weak areas. Usually if fire blight is that prevalent, there would be considerable wilting of green tissue and limb dieback. This could be due to winter damage from some years ago slowly taking its toll on the tree.

A 35 year old tree has considerable resilience and so I predict the tree will hang in there for many more years.. You will probably see more limb decline, especially on the blackened sides of the tree. There's not much you can do other than removing dead limbs when they occur.