sick apple tree

Asked August 8, 2020, 2:21 PM EDT

this tree is 4 years old. last year lots of apples. pruned it, this year, nada. then this "blight" showed up. can you tell me what it is and how to treat it, if possible. won't prune again as w dont know what w are doing. also, no apple trees around now like there was before. does it need neighbors for pollination? it is on irrigation we are in Monmouth. thanks. ok to call 503 837 0090

Polk County Oregon

5 Responses

Your images reveal drought stress (too little water) and sunburn, both of which are widespread maladies this spring.

Most apple trees do require a pollinator tree. If you know the name of your tree, we can research which other apple might also be effective. A crab apple tree can also fill that purpose.

Apple trees are known as alternate bearers, a habit that annoys their caretakers, In other words, if they produce an overly abundant crop, it is typically followed by small to non-existent crop the next year.

Then, too, overly exuberant pruning -- removing more than 20 percent live wood in a single year -- commonly reduces the following year's crop.

The remedy for alternate bearing is to thin (remove) excess fruits when they are the size of an olive. The rule is to keep only one per cluster. (Keep only the best and largest one.) Yes, you'll discard more than you keep but your harvested apples will be large and tasty. (The effort is definitely worth the temporary sadness/stress.)

Please explain the details of your irrigation system, namely the following:
- What system do you have - Sprinkler; drip; soaker hose; hand water?
- How often do you run it?
- How long do you run it each time?

Also, please send several additional images:
- One that shows the entire tree and its surroundings
- The entire tree, including where the trunk enters the ground.

I look forward to receiving your responses and images.

It is a drip system. there are 5 depositors at the base of the tree all wide open.. I run it for 15 minutes every other day. Obviouslly not enough. we were gone the entire month of july when ii got quite hot so i could not adjust the timing as i normally would have. I will add another line and change the depositors to ones to emit more water. Here are the additional images you requested. How might I go about getting pollination when there are not apple trees in the neighborhood. CAn one buy apple pollen? It is a HONEYCRISP variety.How much water and how often would you recommend in this warm weather so i can get the proper delivery emitters.I have the capability of considerably more water to the tree--can i overwater it??

Thank you for the additional info and images.

You need to extend the irrigation system outward to the dripline, an imaginary line on the ground directly underneath the tips of the branches.

You should also move the existing micro-sprinklers about 8 to 10 inches outward from trunk’s base. (Keep the trunk dry.) Then, too, know that you will need to increase the watering zone outward each year as the tree grows.

Next, increase run-time dramatically, perhaps an hour or more. Your goal is to apply enough water to penetrate to 10 or 12 inches deep. To accomplish that, you will have to run a trial-and-error test to determine how long to water your tree each time. An hour after watering, push a long-shaft, flat-headed screwdriver into the ground as far as possible. It should easily go 10 or so inches.

If the screwdriver stops at a shallower depth, it has hit a root, rock or dry soil. Move sideways several inches and probe again. If it still stops short of 10 inches deep, add more water. You now have a new run-time. Irrigate every 2 weeks during the dry months.

The tree has been in the ground long enough that it should be able to stand on its own. To check if that is so, remove the plastic tapes, grasp the trunk at chest height, then attempt to rock the tree back and forth. If the ground at the base of the tree moves the least little bit, the tree is not securely rooted. In that case, loosely re-attach the ties such that the tree can sway back and forth. If the ground doesn’t move the least bit, remove the stake entirely.

As for a pollinator tree, I suspect you have one nearby that you’re unaware of, this because the tree fruited last year. If a pollinator tree of a different kind isn’t within a block or so, refer to this list for a suitable kind: Also know that most white-flowering crab apple trees are suitable.

Sorry, no. You cannot buy pollen.

You'll also need the info in "Pruning and Training Your Home Orchard."

Thank you sooooo much. So much info to process. Just a note, two years ago when we had the good crop there was a large apple tree next door. That tree was removed last fall so there was no close tree this spring. There are many wild apple trees in the county. If i took a flowering branck or two from one of them and placed it close to our tree might that serve?? Just curious.
YOu have been so very, very helpful. Ilearned more from you in 5 minutes than hours of web-browsing.

Uh, oh. For some reason, the link for "Pruning and Training Your Home Orchard" didn't print. Here it is

Your question about taking a flowering branch from another apple tree is a good one. Yes, take several flowering branches from a different apple tree, immediately put the stems in in water. then set the 'bouquet' in the shade adjacent to your tree. (If the tree is on private property, get permission first!)