There are not many things as good as fresh apples picked directly off the tree. Not only can you eat them as soon as you pick them, you can also use them in cakes, pies, pancakes, or sauces or place them in the freezer for later. Apple trees are hardy and easy to grow in many parts of the country, but they are also susceptible to certain diseases. If you are growing one or more apple trees, these are things that you will want to be on the lookout for.
One of the most common diseases that may affect your apple tree is powdery mildew. This often appears as a thin white or gray coating on your young branches, flowers, and leaves. If you already have fruit, you may notice rusty-looking splotches on your fruit.
Powdery mildew will cause your leaves to become disfigured, your fruit to become distorted or dwarfed, and your trees to weaken. This weakened state could make them subject to other secondary infections, which could ultimately lead to their death. Powdery mildew is contagious. The spores are carried by the wind from tree to tree and can greatly affect the yield of your harvest.
To treat and control powdery mildew, it is recommended that when you are choosing your apple trees, you look for varieties that have a natural resistance to this disease. Some disease-resistant types are as follows:
If you develop powdery mildew in trees you already have planted, you will need to prune your trees to remove the affected tissue from the previous year. Make sure you are disinfecting your equipment before using it on other trees or unaffected parts of the same tree as well as destroying the affected plant matter.
Once this is done you may still need to have the trees chemically treated. Consider hiring a tree service to do this task for you. They have the knowledge and equipment to ensure that it is done right. You can help avoid the reoccurrence of powdery mildew by avoiding excessive use of fertilizer, and ensuring that your trees are able to receive direct sunlight.
Another contagious disease that could lead to the death of your apple trees is fire blight. This is primarily seen in the spring during the time that your trees are blooming and your new shoots are forming. The infection is caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. In addition to affecting your apple trees, it can also affect your pear and quince trees.
During the early stages of the infection, your leaves and shoots may appear to be gray-green, but the entire cluster will quickly turn dark brown or black and die. The tips of your new shoots will often turn brown and the shoot will bend over into the shape of a candy cane. You may also notice a sticky ooze on the surface of these blighted shoots. The blossoms of the tree will also shrivel and turn dark.
If left untreated, the disease will often spread throughout the tree and can be moved to other trees by rain and insects. If affected your trees may look as they have been scorched by fire, leaving the affected areas shriveled, blackened, and withered.
The possibility of this disease can be reduced by avoiding trees that are susceptible to it. Some of the most susceptible types of apples trees are:
- Rome Beauty
Once the disease is present, it can also be addressed by proper pruning (as soon as the disease appears) and chemical treatment. Pruning is especially important for young trees, or dwarf apple varieties, because the shoots are normally very close to the main trunk. Avoid feeding your trees large amounts of nitrogen. This could lead to excessive and prolonged shoot growth, which would make your tree more at risk of developing fire blight.
This is just two diseases that your tree may be facing. A good tree service will know how to treat these and any other diseases your tree may develop. Call a tree service like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc. today and have your trees inspected. Not only will they be able to identify and head off any types of dangerous diseases your trees may be facing, they can also give you good growing advice that may lead to a more bountiful harvest.