Flowering crab apple disease??

Asked June 10, 2019, 10:10 AM EDT

This is my flowerig crab Apple tree that I have planted on my blvd. Planted approx 7-8 years ago. Noticed this year these holes in the trunk and the leaves are dying. It seems that the leaves are concentrated more to the ends of the branches... the inside of the tree seems to be bare of leaves. What do you think could be causing this and what can I do for it? Thanks!!

Cass County North Dakota

3 Responses

Good afternoon,

The holes were caused by yellow-bellied sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker. They drill these 'wells' into the bark of the tree, then wait for the wells to fill up with sap which they then come back for, drinking it up.

While nothing can be done for the damage that's already been created, you can prevent future damage from this bird. Protect the stem by covering the affected area loosely with some burlap, or possibly by using a product called Tanglefoot Bird Repellent. Some people even hang pie tins or old CDs in the tree, with the hope of deterring the birds from coming back.

In some cases, the damage is so extreme that the bark will be killed in that area of the stem. In those cases, about all you can do is wait and hope that the tree will be able to heal over the wound.

Best wishes with your tree,

Is this what is also causing my leaves to die? I have attached a picture of one of the leaves.

Yes, it's likely that that's what's causing the leaves to turn black. Other potential causes include overwatering, or perhaps frost/freeze injury.