What is wrong---Young apple tree

pezzuti9(z5 PA)September 17, 2013

Hello, I hope from my attached photo you can tell me what is wrong with my son's young apple tree and what can he use or do to make it flourish again. It is in full sun near Easton, PA
thank you

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What is it about the tree that has you concerned?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:49AM
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It has no leaves.

I'd take a guess and say it could be scab defoliating the tree. Hard to tell for sure w/o a picture of the leaves.

Or it could be the discolored areas on the bark, again hard to tell from this photo.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:33PM
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pezzuti9(z5 PA)

Thanks--I took the photo from a distance with no thought of placing it on here until this morning so I cropped it down thinking I could show what was taking place on the tree.
The tree is located about a one hour drive from my place.
In this photo I cropped a lot smaller area. Might give you a better idea what is going on. The leaves that are still on the tree are very small.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 3:05PM
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alan haigh

That looks like lichen. If so, it is completely harmless.

Cedar apple rust or scab could lead to early defoliation.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 3:53PM
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From looking at the first pic you posted my thought was the same as Hman, it looks like lichen! We have it on many of the trees up here S.E. CT. I have three columnar apple trees that I planted in the spring of 2012 that have CAR but even now they still have their leaves on them. The leaves look ratty as hell but they still have them.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:17PM
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This year, my crabapples suffered severe loss of leaves from scab, despite my spraying them. The apple apples didn't - go figure.

At any rate, if scab is the problem, it can be addressed by fungicide sprays in the spring. Timing of these is important, you can look this up.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Is it mulched and has it gotten sufficient water, or does the grass come right up to the trunk? That grass looks like its getting enough water, but competition and drought can cause the leaves to look like heck and early defoliation.

It is also fall, is it premature for apples to be losing their leaves there?

Lichen means your air is clean.

Your original post implies that the tree flourished in the past. Is this the first year its experienced (early) loss of leaves?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:27PM
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alan haigh

Another thing wrong with the tree is its codominant leaders. The tree could split apart under the load of a crop. You need to choose the best one to lead and either remove immediately or gradually the competing leader.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:39AM
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IF there is lichen growing on the tree, would that mean maybe too much water? IT at least is a sign of high humidity which would harbor fungal diseases....

I live by lake superior and there are no lichen on my trees at all.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:54AM
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alan haigh

Lichen may only grow in humid areas but it doesn't have anything to do with too much water in the soil as far as I know and I've had lots of opportunity to compare. However, I agree that too much water could make a tree defoliate, even if it's not related to lichen.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:38AM
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