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Is my Apple agree beyond Saving?

I have a three year old Apple tree which I planted when I moved house 3 years ago. I recently noticed the bark is damaged right through to the core. I am afraid there may be nothing I can do to save it. Could anyone advise me please if this is treatable or not?


  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,992
    Yes, I agree. ;)
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  •  :( 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,763
    A wider photo showing the whole tree would be useful. If there is growth above the damage then you may get away with pruning below that point next winter once the tree is dormant.
  • Unfortunately the damage is pretty low down. The tree looks healthy enough, lots of buds where it looks like apples are starting to grow. 
    I have taken a pic and drawn around the damaged area in red. 

  • It looks as if the graft has broken down. As long as the rot has not gone all the way around the trunk you may be lucky. Especially as the tree looks quite healthy. I would leave it alone for the time being, keep a careful eye on the damaged area to see if it is spreading around the rest of the trunk. 
    If it is, I would be tempted to scrape away any dead, damaged wood, until you reach healthy growth. If the rot does go all the way around the trunk you will lose the whole tree, unfortunately. It is then likely the remaining stump will sprout new growth but it will be the root stock variety, not the variety you purchased.
    I would also contact your supplier now, send pics and tell them you will ask for a replacement or refund if you lose the tree.
  • Thank you very much Joyce for you reply. I bought the tree from a local garden centre and wouldn’t have the receipt as it was 3 years ago so they may not honour a replacement if it does die on me. I will keep and eye on it and as you suggest consider scraping the damaged bark until I reach healthy bark. Is there anything I can put on it? I’m thinking of a fungicide or something?
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,992
    Judging by the photo this apple-tree looks as if it's been planted far too close to the fence.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • That would not cause the graft to break down. 

    Melting candle wax over the cleaned wound could help. Another option would be to wrap the whole area with tape used for wrapping grafts, if your garden centre does not sell it you should be able to find it on-line. You must be sure whichever tool you use to scrape off the dead and damaged bark is thoroughly sterilized. I think there are solutions you can paint onto wounds but I cannot for the life of me remember what they are.
    I have a feeling the modern approach is to leave wounds to open air and sun etc.

    The tree would certainly be better planted further away from the fence but at this point in time, I would not advise moving it. In years to come the branches will push against the fence unless pruned to make a triangular shape to fit into the corner.
    The bark damage problem needs to be dealt with first as the tree may not survive. If the tree carries on growing, then maybe bringing it forward out of the corner would be the next move. Sooner rather than later as moving a tree of that size will not be easy.
    If started early the tree could be trained fan style to grow along the fence along each side of the corner. Not conventional but would save moving the whole tree?
    Putting in training wires now would be easy and the branches are still young enough and pliable enough to tie in to begin the shaping program. 
    I think that would be my choice of action. After treating the damage. No point in spending money, time and effort if the tree dies.
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