old apple tree

Asked August 2, 2018, 9:27 AM EDT

My old apple tree has lost its leaves and fruit in the spring after leafing out for the last two years. corrective action?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Apple trees are susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases that cause leaf spotting, loss of foliage, and decline of fruit quality. Some of the most common diseases are apple scab, cedar apple rust, and fireblight. To manage these diseases in our Maryland climate, it is necessary to follow a spray schedule if you want to protect the health of your tree and attain good fruit quality. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/diseases-apples-and-pears

We recommend reading and following the Virginia Tech Home Fruit Disease management guide. This guide includes an annual spray schedule for apples. (See table 3-5.) For control of scab, for example, you would have to begin treatments at bud swell and continue through petal fall. Recommended fungicides are included in the guide. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/home-fruit-preventative-spray-schedule-and-management-common-problems


In addition, we recommend removing competing plants from around the base of the tree. It looks like there are several vines around your tree. It is good practice to place a thin layer of mulch at the base of the tree (about 2-3" deep and avoid placing it directly against the trunk). Grass and weeds will compete with the tree for water and nutrients. Mulch helps to control weeds, maintain soil moisture and reduces chances of physical injury to the trunk from lawnmower or string trimmer damage. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/mulch