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Apple tree affected

i think my apple tree has scab apple disease. I've looked it up online and read there is nothing now available to buy which can treat it. Is it doomed and will have to be chopped down. !t is quite an old tree?

Comments (2)

  1. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Hi Mary,

    It may not be all bad news: there are ways to reduce the problem, and plenty of websites out there with info - you've probably already found a few!

    Basically, starting now, you need to rake up all the fallen leaves as soon as they fall, and burn the lot - don't put them on the compost or make leaf mould from them. If you can't burn, take them down the tip, or put them in the garden waste bin if you have one.

    Keep doing this right through autumn, until every single leaf is down, and disposed of: they harbour the fungus over the winter, so you need to clear them away quickly and completely.

    You also need to pick up and bin all fallen apples. They are still edible, apparently, but don't take any chances: leaves and apples are covered in the spores of the fungus which causes it - Venturia inaequalis - so don't risk keeping any infected material in your garden.

    Get an arborist in to thin out the tree, as soon as you can - good air circulation is vital.

    Next spring, start watering the base of the tree, and give it some balanced feed, such as Growmore, as a healthy tree stands the best chance of resisting infection. Keep watering it, if the weather is dry through the spring and summer, and keep raking up all fallen leaves, and disposing of them.

    If the tree has grass underneath it, clear a circle of grass all around it, so that you can easily rake up and clear away all fallen leaves and debris. If it's a bed, it might be worth sacrificing the flowers for a year, in order to make it easy to get at all those fallen leaves.

    As a long-term prospect, you could spray the tree with any of the freely available fungicides BUT you would not be able to eat the crop that year. Again, it might be worth making a sacrifice: lose one year of apples in order to save the tree.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Grower

    Mary Shelton

    Thank you Rachel, that is very helpful. I am reluctant to get rid of the tree as we inherited it when we bought the house and would be happy to give it some tlc in order to preserve it.


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