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Apple tree - why are it and other shrubs dying?

This apple tree is about 6 years old and was healthy but in February the bark started to peel and it is dying. The Mahonia seen in the photo has now lost most of it's leaves and the leaves of the well established Choiysa next to the apple tree are turning yellow/brown and dropping off. Can anyone tell me why this is happening? 



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470
    Are other plants growing OK between that and the neighbours? Call me cynical, but if they are washing their back down with a toxic chemical, that could leach across into your soil.  That could be accidental or not.
  • June333June333 Posts: 5
    Other plants are ok it's just in this section of the garden that there is a problem. 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,232
    It looks like some kind of canker.

    Cankers come in fungal and bacterial forms and affect several different types of plants and trees.

    Difficult to say which one this is, but I’d say your apple tree is a goner. Dig it out and burn it.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • DaveGreigDaveGreig West Fife, ScotlandPosts: 56
    Is there any white stuff under the bark at the base. There’s no way to tell conclusively from the pics and I don’t think it is honey fungus but time will tell. Look on line for complete list of symptoms and susceptible plants although nothing is immune and keep your fingers crossed.
  • June333June333 Posts: 5
    Thanks I've checked and it isn't honey fungus. I'm wondering if it's something airborne as today I've noticed that the top leaves on the ivy growing on the 6ft fence are turning black.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,531
    Looking at your original photo, I noticed that your soil around the apple tree does not look in good condition and looks as though it could be waterlogged. Have you tried digging a hole nearby to see if it fills with water?  Could there possibly be a broken sewage pipe under that area?  The brown leaves on the ivy are a separate issue I think at the moment and more likely due to wind/cold damage.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    I agree with Lizzie27's observations. The soil looks very damp and compacted. A young tree like that will not find it easy in those growing conditions. Your plants are probably all struggling. The Ivy is likely a separate issue as stated, with cold damage on juvenile leaves. There has been extremely cold nights and then very warm days, not always helpful on some plants in spring.
  • June333June333 Posts: 5
    Thanks for your comments and I'm sorry for the delay in responding, there are no drains near by and this part of the garden faces south and gets very dry.  I've now had the soil analysed and the report shows that it is extremely low in nitrate so I've applied the suggested amount and hopefully that and added compost will improve the soil. 
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