Can my honey crisp apply tree be saved?

Asked September 21, 2019, 4:32 PM EDT

We purchased a honey crisp apple tree from Menards last year and things were ok. This year we thought it was doing ok until we trimmed the grass around it and saw that the truck is damaged. Is there any way or anything we can do to save it?

Ramsey County Minnesota bark damage

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

Unfortunately your tree does not look good. You did not indicate what might have caused this bark damage. My guess is that your tree was feasted upon by rabbits/deer/squirrels this past winter. For this reason, I would suggest some type of protection be constructed around your tree at this time so as to prevent further critter damage. See:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/protecting-trees-and-shrubs-winter

The answer to your actual question depends upon how much of the tree received damage? Here's a quick and dirty way of determining this. Get a piece of string and wrap it around the trunk. The length of the string will be the circumference of the trunk. Now using this same piece of string, stretch it between the edges of bark damage. If the length of bark damage is about 40% or less of the tree's circumference, the tree may survive. If the length of bark damage is 50% or more of the tree's circumference, it is doubtful that the tree will survive. I f this latter is true the tree may still show limited leaf and/or development next spring (2020), but its chances of surviving through the 2020-2021 winter season would be unlikely. See the following for further information about these points and remedial actions that you might take this fall:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/repairing-tree-bark-damage.htm

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/treat-tree-bark-torn-off-trunk-48899.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/wrap-tree-bark-scraped-97061.html

I see no reason to remove the tree at this time. If you see poor leaf and/or fruit development in 2020, replacement may be the best course of action. However, the most definitive answer to your question would be provided by a professional certified arborist. It is suggested that you have such an individual inspect your tree. Here is an excellent University of Minnesota publication about securing the services of such an individual:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional

Good Luck!!!