Ornamental Crabapple Leaves Yellowing

moonstarrJuly 10, 2014

Hi, I'm in Calgary and this past week I've noticed that some of the leaves on my ornamental crabapple are yellowing and it's prematurely dropping apples. I thought maybe it just needed more water, so I have deep watered it, but more and more leaves are yellowing. Has anyone had experience with this and know what might be the problem?

I looked online and there is something called Apple Scab? But I'm not sure if that's what I'm seeing. The apples that have dropped don't appear to have any spots on them. If it is, can a fungicide be sprayed to save the tree? Would I need to call an arborist? Or could this be because of the crazy winter we had? I'm pretty new at all this and am still learning!

I'm attaching a few photos.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

This post was edited by moonstarr on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 19:16

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If it was apple scab you would see mis-shapen fruit with big black blotches all over them, same with the leaves. So that isn't your problem. Is it just the one branch or all over the tree? If just the one branch, check the bark on the branch going to the stem. Sometimes a bad pruning cut can get infected with bacterial canker or other diseases and the bark around the branch will die, killing the branch.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:28PM
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I just checked the tree and it's not just the same branch. Although it is mostly located on the one branch, it appears it is also happening to a lesser degree in two or three other areas. The premature apple drop appears to be happening to the entire tree. We did have someone prune it last year, but I can't see any issues at any of the cuts. I'm glad it doesn't appear to be apple scab. Maybe it's a weather thing?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:30PM
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Is this possibly a rather old tree, maybe it's just approaching the end of its life span.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:03AM
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I'm not sure how old the tree is, but it's definitely mature. We moved in a couple years back and the tree was already here. I hope it's not nearing the end of it's life span, but I guess that may be a possibility. It does get a lot of suckers at the base that I have to trim down each year, so maybe that does signify poorer health?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

It could have some disease or winter damage,..I would cut the branch back.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:52AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! We are going to cut that branch back this weekend. I noticed tonight that there is another branch coming off the same larger branch that doesn't have ANY leaves (I'm not sure if it ever did, or if they all yellowed as well and fell off). So we'll cut that whole piece out back to the main branch, and hopefully that will take care of most of it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:38AM
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At this point, I wouldn't fret. Sometimes older branches just die as part of the tree's development, and newer growth in the crown or on other branches replaces the old growth. Prune it out and see how things go.

If you take a close look at any unpruned tree you will see some dead branches but mostly live branches. That's just how trees grow naturally. We like to prune out the dead branches to make the tree look its best, but a few dead branches does not by itself mean anything is wrong with the tree. If it did, I'd have to cut down that big oak in my backyard, which is showing some dead branches from last winter that I've yet to deal with (and may be too high up for me to ever deal with)....

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:49AM
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