Apple tree with splitting bark

RonnieSSOctober 15, 2013

I have a 20 year old Mutsu Apple tree that has been bearing fruit every year prolifically. This year the main trunk and a few main branches developed large cracks in August and watery sap leaked out wetting the bark around below the cracks. The tree has also developed a one foot square section of trunk area at the base of the tree where the outer layer of bark is dying leaving a brown crusty peeling bark instead of the silver smooth bark.
Is this a warning sign of some disease? I don't see any pests but the tree late in the season gets powdery mildew and has a small amount of fireblight this year for the first time. Does anyone have helpful suggestions of how to save the tree? I love the fruit!

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alan haigh

I'm used to getting a kind of cracking with Mutsus but not like the picture you show where it goes all the way to the wood. If it had showed up in early spring I'd suggest SW injury.

What is the fertilization history of the tree and lawn? I could imagine a tree doing that because of excess nitrogen and/or water or even as a result of excessive pruning.

If the tree is growing with normal vigor and your primary symptom is a cracked bark I doubt this is a life threatening issue but there should be clear callous already forming to close off the wound.

When asking for diagnosis of a problem you should always mention where the tree is growing and any information you have about the overall management of the tree and the turf it grows in. That also should include whether and with what the tree is sprayed and what the texture and drainage of the soil is.

If the mildew is drastically affecting the trees ability to harvest energy or if it leads to any level of defoliation it could very well be an issue and you should look to control it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 5:00PM
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