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Apple tree emergency

We have a 3 year old Discovery apple tree which produced 2 apples last year (the same year we planted it). There was lots of blossom this year and now a lot of small apples which we need to remove some of. In the last couple of days the tips of two branches (one being the central branch) have wilted. No sign of pests or fungus, the leaves and tip of the branch have simply flopped over. Any suggestions?

Re: Apple tree emergency

now a lot of small apples which we need to remove some of.

Wait before you do this! The tree/s will do this naturally which is known as 'June drop' this is where a number of the embryo fruit will fall of by themselves.

If after this stage you still feel you need to thin out then by all means do, I rarely do!

In the last couple of days the tips of two branches (one being the central branch) have wilted.

We have had a particularly dry May so the tree/s could be short of water and this can produce problems such as you describe.

Try forming a shallow channel in the soil at the edge of the tree canopy and give the area a good soaking.

Having said that have another look in the leaves for aphids and or caterpillars they have a hankering for the soft lush tip growth at this time of the year.

Here is a link on Apple culture;http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk/Data/Apples/Apples.htm

Re: Apple tree emergency

Thanks for the advice. I'm wondering if it may be canker? Would this affect just the top couple of inches of only two branches? I've done some research and get differing opinions and possibilities.

Re: Apple tree emergency

Hi Tom and Mary. I wouldn't bother with the fruit thinning, that'll occur naturally. The main concern is the wilting branches. 3 main things spring to my mind.
1 there is damage to the bark by wind chaffing,
2 canker- a kind of sore which when spreads around the circumference of the branch will prevent fluids from reaching the branch and it dies like the wind chaffing.
3 by far the most serious and I don't know if it is too late for it to happen, but it could be erwinia (fire blight). It is a bacterial infection carried by the bees during pollination and enters thru the flowers and causes quick die back.
I would remove the die back and burn it and make sure you sterilize cutting impliments during and after use. I am not sure about U.K regulations but Fire Blight used 'have to' be reported to Ministery/Dept of Agriculture, because of the threat to the economy and environment. Don't worry though, they won't come in spaceman suits to your garden, it is just to track the spread and quantity of outbreaks. I hope I haven't been too scary. It does point out though how easily our economy and environment ie apples, pears, hawthorn and other members of the rose family could be wiped out by a simple action as pollination. Take care and I hope ye will Discovery a solution. Din

Re: Apple tree emergency

Thanks - I had considered fire blight (with fingers very much crossed). It looks a little similar but doesn't have the burned appearance. Some of the leaves have developed brown spots, but this could be because they are dying.

I think I'll go for the removal and destroy option.