open wounds on apple tree bark

Kat-GAugust 20, 2013

This is on a 6 year old espalier apple tree (Golden Del.) which is otherwise vigourous and producing well. It has not been sprayedso far in it's life with anything for disease control. These wounds are on areas that cannot be cut out. We have also seen slits on young branches which appear to be early stages of wounds such as this. Extension test of younger branches with smaller versions of similar spots were negative for fire blight. This problem has shown up on our Gala and Liberty apples as well as Kieffer pears. Looking for help identifying the problem so we can find the right solution. Thanks!

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I'm wondering if there's some kind of crittur damage going on- that's a pretty big scar. My wife suggested deer rubbing- plus there have been birds coming in afterwards. Which direction does the sun come from in relation to the scars? Are they all oriented towards the southwest, by any chance?

I'm interested in hearing what this turns out to be- I don't want my Liberty to get it!

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Looks like my apple tree that's now dead from it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

I had one apple tree that facing the southwest and got a real bad sun scar like that. I cleaned out the dead barks and wrapped it with the 3m aluminum taped to prevent borers and it recovered. The rest of the trees facing southwest I then painted the trunk white.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:53AM
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Thanks for the replies. Here is another picture of a wound on the same tree, facing straight up. The original picture is facing pretty much straight west.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Was that branch pruned before or after the damage?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 5:24PM
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That branch is a main branch which iteslf has not been pruned in several seasons. The spurs and shoots emanating from it were pruned before and after we noticed these diseasey spots.

Here is another picture of same tree, different problem spot.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 5:34PM
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do you have black bears? I get scares like them from bear cubs climbing the trees. their claws are razor sharp and cut four parallel groves that take years to show like this. I think coons can do the same thing, more likely in a zone 6.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:24PM
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alan haigh

It looks to me that the wound is the result of the large branch removal right in front of it, which is a very common response. The diameter of the wood had grown in conjunction with that branch and the cambium vascular structure heading to it was a high proportion of what was on the overall scaffold. You cut off the flow and the sap heats up and scorches the cambium (just my theory, there).

The reality is that these wounds don't usually kill trees that are otherwise vigorous and the callous forming on the borders indicates this is the case here. The dead cambium was serving the removed branch anyway and now it's just a matter of the tree outgrowing rot to remain structurally strong. What don't kill you makes you stronger.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 5:59AM
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