Crabapple in Poor Health

My client had a 26 year old crabapple tree genus – Malus with low vitality and felt it was time to remove her tree.  My observations on a late August afternoon confirmed that the lower 1/3 of the canopy had pre-mature leaf drop, sooty curled leaves and numerous wood borer holes in the trunk: the former, typical signs of Apple Scab.

Apple trees are prone to many diseases and insect damage yet can often persist in spite of these vectors.   Still it is important to water deeply these trees during drought cycles, mulch their roots, and try to maintain an open crown for sun and wind to reduce fungus attacks.  This particular tree is sited on the north side of a tall home with much of the tree in afternoon shade, it was also pruned back a few years prior by deadheading cuts which released a thicket of suckers.  I made a soils sample bone-dry silt loam soils below 1/2″ of humus with a pH of 6.5.  Lack of moisture and a combination of fungus and shade stressors weakened this plants ability to properly leafout and photosynthesize during recent summers.  With reduced vitality, the tree evidently stopped flowering fully and it’s beauty and health suffered.

My client chose not to nurse this tree along but rather take it out.  Her plan is to find a more suitable species for this location.  Two months later I returned with my chain saw, sorry to perform the work, but hopeful that a better choice and better tree care will result in success.


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