Crab apple status

Since the wind broke the one crab apple tree, and I ended up tying it off, rather than cutting it away, I’ve been keeping a close eye on it since.

Check it out.

Can you tell which part was broken?

There isn’t even a single wilted leaf on it!

It still might not survive the winter, but for now, it’s doing just fine.

Unlike this one.

This is the crab apple tree by the old compost pile. Last year, it had good eating apples. This year… well, the ones that aren’t infected taste good. 😦 About half of the tree has yellowing leaves with brown spots, and even the apples on those branches are more yellow have have spotting on them. I’d hoped to have cut away the infected branches in pruning it, but the fungus had clearly already spread further.

I’ve been looking at some of the other crab apple trees and thinking of what to do with them. Like many trees here, they were planted too close to each other. Some had already died and were cut away, others show signs of fungal infection, and most… well, they’re just not good apples. When I do my rounds and check on them this time of year, I do taste the occasional apple. One tree had me spitting it out right away. Another has the most bizarre combination of being really sweet and really sour at the same time – so sour, I end up spitting that one out, too. Others are so tiny, they’re just ornamental. The grosbeaks and deer eat them, so even though we can’t use them, they are still feeding critters. In that respect, I’m okay with them.


Partly because they are so close together, partly because of the spreading fungal infection, I am increasingly thinking of cutting most of them down to save the two trees that have good eating apples, and are still healthy. I hate the thought of cutting them down at all. There is even the sentimental side of things. My late father planted these, though it looks like the parts he grafted have died and only the suckers from the bases are still growing.

If they do get cut down, they won’t go to waste. One tree with particularly disgusting tasting apples is quite large. If that one were cut down, I’d find all sorts of ways to use the wood. It’s base is large enough, I can see carving some decent sized bowls out of the wood.

In the long term, we are intending to plant a nut orchard in the area, having found a place that specializes in trees that grow in colder climates such as ours. We will also be planting hardy varieties of different fruit trees. Hopefully, we will have apples, pears, and plums in this area, too. Taking out any sick trees, poorly placed trees, or any fruit trees with inedible fruit, would free up space needed for food trees.


I know we’ll need to take them down. I just don’t like having to do it.

All in good time. Aside from the diseased ones, there is no urgency to it right now.

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Crab apple status

  1. If you’re sure it’s a fungus of some sort, why not just buy a fungicidal spray and treat the trees?

    Seems a waste to potentially give up on one or more of them, especially when you’ve been getting a fairly good harvest off of them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • If it were one of the trees with good eating apples, I would. For the others, it becomes a question of, is it worth going through the effort when there are already other issues with the tree (inedible apples, poorly located, etc.). For example, the one by the compost pile may have pretty good eating apples, but it’s in a bad location and affects the usability of the garden for growing food.

      Availability of treatment, and the cost, are other issues to deal with. I have yet to see anything to treat them with, anywhere. Even in the city. If they are infected with the strain of fungus I found, where I need to burn the remaining trunks, there is no treatment for that one. In fact, it’s used to deliberately infect trees to kill them! With that one, which I’ve found evidence of in several trunks among the current row of trees, the only thing that can be done is prevent the spread by ensuring spores can’t get into any wounds in the trees. Which is what we are already working on for the trees we do want to keep.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm, well if its’ one of the rare untreatable ones, I’d definitely get rid of the tree(s) then, before they infect other ones.

        Kind of a shame it is a fungus infection like that. Apple wood of all kinds is great for smoking food, especially pork. Getting fungus smoke all up in the food though; no beuno

        Liked by 2 people

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