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Whats wrong with my apple tree bark?

We have two apple trees in our back garden, of which both suffered from woolly aphid the past two years (we've only been here two years). What is wrong with the bark? This is the first tree, and in this photo the bark on this branch is spongy/crumbly.


  • This is the same branch but the photo is zoomed out

  • And this is the bark on the trunk of the second apple tree. There are rusty red coloured areas and the bark comes off easily. Both trees produced lovely apples each year. The first tree produces cooking apples and the second produces eating apples.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited May 2018
    It looks like the result of decades of woolly aphid damage and probably canker, too.  The gnarly bits are where the tree has grown new tissue to repair itself.  Not much you can do to a tree of this age other than scrubbing the woolly aphids off with a stiff brush and soapy water.  The first tree looks to be still growing well and should have many years left in it, even if canker is present.  Are there any dead branches?  Can we have photo's of the whole trees?
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob! No there aren't any dead branches. Here's a photo of both trees (first tree is on the left). I've sprayed the trees to try and get rid of the aphids, but I'll try and scrub some off too. Both trees need a prune but I missed the opportunity to do it at the right time earlier this year. If I prune out a few branches to let some more air in now, will I be just letting the woolly aphids get a better hold on the tree on the cut ends? I've noticed they seem to like setting up their woolly homes on the older cut ends.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,688
    Juliashaw123, the two trees look characterful and not really congested in my opinion. But, don't let Woolly Aphids put you off from pruning and thinning out branches. Wait till next year to do that. You should concentrate on inspecting the tree branches throughout the year and scrubbing the areas you see infected. By doing this, you limit their damage. 
  • Thanks Borderline. I'll get scrubbing!
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