Apple trees dead branches, yellow leaves and not producing fruit

Asked August 21, 2018, 10:23 AM EDT

I have three apple trees, one always produced apples while the other two looked like they were dying. Now all three of them look like they are dying. They all have yellowing leaves with brown spots on them with sections of dead branches. One of the trees actually has a hole that I can put my arm in at the main split of the branches. One tree has this dark brown/black growth on a couple of the branches, the other one has a blueish flat moss on the bark and the other one has little holes everywhere. Any ideas as to what I can do to save them if its even possible? See attached pics. I have more pics but this only allows for 3 uploads.

Calvert County Maryland fruit dead branches apple

1 Response

It is difficult to grow fruit trees especially apples as they are susceptible to insect and disease issues and will require a spray schedule for control and careful management.
Left photo we notice lichens on the branches and they are harmless. They grow on mature trees and are not a reason for decline http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/lichens-trees-and-shrubs
Also the black on the branch may be due to possible sooty mold (from sucking insects) and/or cankers. Fungi can cause cankers (dead areas on branches).
There is no control other than pruning.

Apples can be susceptible to several foliar diseases such as apple scab, rust, and fireblight. They can cause early defoliation or other environmental factors such as shade, root injury, excess soil moisture, etc.

Please view our web pages on growing apple trees and some of their
problems:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/apples
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/common-problems-apples-pears

You will have to identify what you are dealing with. Also view the VA Tech spray schedule http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/home-fruit-preventative-spray-schedule-and-management-common-problems

Rake up and dispose of fallen leaves as they drop off. Good sanitation around the tree will help reduce disease issues. Prune out dead and dying wood after the tree goes dormant and monitor it closely next year. You can send us photos next season as soon as you notice symptoms. Also, we notice a type of vine growing up the trunk. Remove the vine as this can shade the branches and deny photosynthesis. Remove any grass and mulch with an organic mulch no more than several inches. Keep away from the base of the trunk.

mh