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APPLE TREE PEST AND DISEASES QUESTION AND ANSWER


Our main apple tree and disease article can be found here. But sometimes our readers ask specific questions which are not covered in the main article. This page lists their comments, questions and answers. At the end of this page there is also a form for you to submit any new question or comment you have.

COMMENTS / QUESTIONS LEFT BY OUR READERS

Date: 3 June 2018 From: Rob
QUESTION: West Yorkshire: Our 15+ year old Cox Orange pippin never produces much fruit. This year looks better than usual but some branches have little webbed areas with numbers of small blackish caterpillars inside, I have read that these might be Tent caterpillars. What damage will they do to the fruit and should I remove them. Trying not to use chemical treatments on our plot!

ANSWER: Yes, that sounds very much like Tent caterpillars. They will eat all the leaves from your apple tree. Initially that won't kill it but it will severely weaken the tree leaving it open to other pests and diseases. The only non-chemical solution is to hand pick off all the caterpillars


Date: 11 March 2018 From: Chris A
QUESTION: I have 3 year old cox's pippin. There is almost a full covering of light green algae/moss on the main trunk. Very thin covering. Is it harming the tree?

ANSWER: By itself the algae / lichen are unlikely to do any harm. However it is a sign that either the area around the tree is over-damp and / or the tree is not as vigorous as it should be.

If the area is damp or waterlogged, add lots of well rotted compost to the surrounding soil. You could also add some horticultural grit to improve drainage. Keep adding each year. If the tree is surrounded by other plants which are stopping good air circulation, remove them or at least prune them.


Date: 6 October 2016 From: Jane
QUESTION: We bought 2 apple trees around 20 years ago - they have never produced much fruit (I just had a look one has 3 apples the other only 1). The James Grieve is about 2m high, the Coxes about 1.5m. Neither have many leaves and some of the few leaves that there are, are brown at the tip. What has gone wrong? I have never pruned them much as they don't seem to put on much growth, but this year I wondered about really pruning them back - would this be a good idea? There are other, large old apple trees in the garden which always do well.

ANSWER: Without seeing the trees and the site I can only guess.
I would suspect that the trees are on very dwarfing rootstocks, possibly M9 or M27. This would explain their low height.
Very dwarfing rootstocks are really intended for growing in containers not open ground. If they are grown in open ground they may well need special attention if your soil and surrounding conditions are average or poor. The site should be protected, there should be no competition for nutrients from grass or other plants. They will also need to be fed twice a year with a natural fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone. The soil should be kept moist but never waterlogged.
For more information on rootstocks see the page here. Remember also that fruit trees bought from discounted sources may well not correspond to what appears on the label attached to the tree.


Date: 25 July 2016 From: Margaret
QUESTION: My Bramley tree has some fruits which have a brown patch on an apparently healthy fruit. On cutting it open the flesh is brown under the patch - similar to bruising but this is definitely not the cause. These patches appeared quite suddenly last week and are affecting up to 5% of the crop. I noticed the same thing on another Bramley tree in the next county a couple of days ago. The guys at my local garden centre have no idea what it can be - can you offer any suggestions? I can send a photo if it helps.

ANSWER: Firstly, all we know about aphids can be found on this page here. I've not heard of any sensible method of preventing aphids from landing on an apple tree so it all comes down to minimising the damage done when they do arrive. The best preventative measure I know of is to keep a close eye on them and as soon as you see any signs of signs of aphids, squash them.
This will kill those you squash and also prevent them breeding later in the season. The same goes for washing them off with a water spray plus a little washing up liquid. If you are willing to use chemical sprays then these are very effective.

Early detection and taking immediate action is the key. You may also need to accept that aphids will affect your apple trees to some degree whatever you use. But as long as they produce apples, who cares!


Date: 20 Nov 2105 From: Patricia Brenchley
QUESTION: How can I prevent the dreaded aphids returning to my 3 year old cox's orange pippen espalier in 2016 or perhaps more importantly is how to treat them if they do appear again?

ANSWER: Firstly, all we know about aphids can be found on this page here. I've not heard of any sensible method of preventing aphids from landing on an apple tree so it all comes down to minimising the damage done when they do arrive. The best preventative measure I know of is to keep a close eye on them and as soon as you see any signs of signs of aphids, squash them.

This will kill those you squash and also prevent them breeding later in the season. The same goes for washing them off with a water spray plus a little washing up liquid. If you are willing to use chemical sprays then these are very effective.

Early detection and taking immediate action is the key. You may also need to accept that aphids will affect your apple trees to some degree whatever you use. But as long as they produce apples, who cares!


Date: 10 Oct 2105 From: Nazar N
QUESTION: Why do home grown apples, picked straight from tree, are bitter in taste while same variety apples bought from store, have different taste.

ANSWER: If the apples taste bitter compared to exactly the same variety from a store, the first possible cause is that you are picking them too early. The second possibility is that your apples have Bitter Pit.


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