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Holistic help for trees with mosaic virus?

Posted by Karen Brindle 
Holistic help for trees with mosaic virus?
June 29, 2016 03:31AM
Hi, not sure where to post this so here goes. I just discovered this holistic approach/community/network, and I'm reading all I can to learn how to support our trees holistically. I'm waiting for Michael's DVD and books and planning my first foliar sprays. So bear with me in trying to learn all this as fast as I can!

Of our 250 trees (mostly cider apples) we have 4 Ashmead's that are infected, came that way from Raintree but we did not realize what it was for a few years angry smiley. The trees are 4 years old and are starting to produce, all on M111. Is there any particular nutrient or ingredient I should use to help these trees deal with the virus, or should we pull the trees and start over? Can another apple even be planted in the same hole without spreading the virus to the new tree?

I'm thinking if we can provide the best nutrition and protection from exterior disease and bugs, they can thrive inspite of the mosaic.

Thanks and I look forward to learning from all of you!

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
Re: Holistic help for trees with mosaic virus?
July 22, 2016 01:13PM
Hi Karen,

I also grow Ashmead's. A lovely apple! Sorry for this delayed response, I have been traveling over the last month, but I wanted to chime in.

Apple Mosaic Virus is the result of infected plant material being moved around by grafting or even by plant to plant contact (such as underground root grafting, one tree to another, that can take place over time)

Some varieties show it much more than others. Plus, it is known that Apple Mosaic Virus can spread to many other desirable fruit species too (including plum, peach, pear, cherry, blackberry, roses and more)

To the best of my knowledge there is no cure for Apple Mosaic Virus and though the trees could limp along (and technically survive) they will have reduced vigor, reduced fruit production and they are a source of infection to all your other adjacent apple trees and in my opinion the trees should be removed.

I would not plant any other apple trees in that spot, for a season or two . . . Cover crop the area, and soil build your biology, then be sure to source disease free trees from reputable focused sources only. . . Cummins, Fedco, Trees of Antiquity, Dave Wilson, Salt Spring Apple Co., etc. . . Van Well Nursery in Washington is a solid source, but they do not offer Ashmead's and are more focused on mainstream varieties, but they would be well worth contacting.

Losing the 4 years you have with those trees is tough, all the care and attention, and time lost in their establishment, training and development . . . As a fellow apple farmer, it is sad to me too, and I truly empathize.

Lets us know what you decide to do . . . and feel free to post up pictures of your virus for those less familiar with it too. We can all learn from one another, no doubt about it.

Love that you are going big on the cider variety front. Wishing you loads of success!

Cheers!

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Holistic help for trees with mosaic virus?
February 20, 2017 11:22PM
Hi Paul, thank you for the response, I just realized I forgot to "follow" posts I make so never saw your reply. We have not removed the trees. While they do show less vigor than the rest of the trees of the same age, they did produce apples this year and a lot of growth, at least 4' on some branches! As I'm pruning the Ashmead's today, I'm astonished with the number of fruiting buds on the 2 year old wood. Last summer was the first time I did holistic nutrition sprays, of fermented teas (comfrey, nettle & horsetail) EM, kelp and homegrown compost tea. I saw a noticeable difference in the health of the leaves. The Ashmeads still had the yellowing and some leaf drop, and produced some very nice apples. However, one tree that was grafted from the same infected source tree shows no virus symptoms. I may be making a mistake, but I am gambling on the tree's ability to maintain it's health if we give them the nutrition and fungi they need and control the pressure from bugs. Only time will tell if the gamble works. Thanks again for your input!!!!

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
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