Dark discoloration damage on apple limb

kittymoonbeamFebruary 27, 2013

I am trying to help a neighbor with helping to save her Fuji. I grafted a Golden Delicious and a Gordon on this particular branch and she hates to lose it. It has a sort of circular dark area that is wrapping around the branch and almost touching itself on the back side. She removed some dead wood in the upper areas that looked like the bark was split open. This darkened area looks as if someone has spilled dark coffee there and it's slightly shrunken in- not flush with the bark on the rest of the branch. She never trained it to a central leader, she has the tree equally divided into 4 branches. I would think just to cut off this bad branch but is the rest of the tree going to go the same way eventually? Can we try to save the grafts by putting them on another of the branches. I don't have the wood to graft again for her later. I would like any suggestions for what this might be and I will go and look at pictures to see if it matches what I saw. She hasn't been home and I can't take pictures until this weekend. What apples there have been have been ok but the branches have been dying off in the upper areas and now this big area of damage at the lower part. It grows next to a telephone pole and earlier last spring the company came and put some preservative around the pole in the soil. They told her it would not get in the apples. I wonder about that. I was thinking it wouldn't be related to the bark damage however.

We are in Sunset Zone 23- Anaheim in CA

Thanks for any ideas you might have.

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Aack- it's either borer damage (scratch it to see if there's sawdust under it) or fireblight; probably borer. You can cut scions off of it still and graft onto other parts of the tree- that limb is toast as soon as the weather warms up.

Search the tree to see if there are any other areas like this, and dig out the sawdust until you hit green wood. Paint the trunk with a mixture of 1/3 white latex paint, 1/3 water, and 1/3 drywall compound, painting all that you can, especially horizontal branches exposed to the sun.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:28PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

My first concern would be fire blight. It occurs rather badly in the central valleys of CA but not sure about your area. Below link to pictures. If you think that might be the issue UC Davis will have good info if you google UC Davis fire blight management.

Here is a link that might be useful: FB canker pictures

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:34PM
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The gardeners were there so they let me in for pictures. Here's the sad news

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:19PM
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another view of the other side of the limb. I am thinking this has to go right away.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:21PM
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I found something even scarier looking over the wall into the backyard next door from the tree I am writing about

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Here's another view of the tree next door, also an apple. Half is ok, the other half in trouble. Is my neighbors tree doomed if the person next door lets their tree go? What should we do to seal the large pruning wounds from where the branches were cut.

The last question is how do I protect my young Pink Lady tree only 5 houses away from all this? Do I paint it all and if so is the drywall compound a paste or a powder? This is a bummer.

Thanks again and if you need a laugh come over to roses to check out funny stories about bonehead people/ plants posted by kippy.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:31PM
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here's the link for the stories and please come tell yours. I used to think rose people had all the troubles until I came here.

Here is a link that might be useful: funny stories

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:39PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

It may be 'SouthWest Disease', in which case it would be wise to paint the trees with latex paint like applenut suggests. The top picture might be of "woundwood" mentioned in the link below.

If the tree next to the telephone pole was shaded and now is not, that might explain the sudden bark damage.

I found a site that explains what it is but the pictures are not loading. Since you are not in an area that freezes the cold-damage details will not apply to you, but sun scald may be an issue.

Hopefully an expert will chime in:)

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunscald - 'SouthWest Disease'

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Thank you. I am going over to look under the bark tomorrow. I really hope it's not the fireblight because I was reading that that is hopeless to deal with. If it is I was wondering if I should pick off all the flowers on my little tree just to play it safe and paint it as well. I don't care if I get any apples yet just as long as my tree lives. The tree in the other yard has damage down low and it seems to me sunburn in that case would be unlikely. This reminds me of when fuchsia mite was going through the neighborhood and killed all my huge plants that I trained into standards over 12 years. It really hurt seeing them die but I wasn't going to risk poisoning the hummingbirds that were spreading the disease. After a number of years, the sick plants in the neighborhood all died off and I am starting over again.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:11PM
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The first photo is fireblight; the blossoms on a twig got infected and it traveled down the twig to the bigger branch. Remove the whole thing 8" into good wood or the tree is toast.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:09AM
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