perennial canker on apple
January 28, 2013 09:37PM
This fall I accepted responsibility for the care of a small, old orchard. It is an orchard of about 20 apple, cherry , peach and plum trees here in the Maritime Northwest. Many of the trees at least 50 years old, but there are a few younger trees mixed in. The apple trees have a bad perennial canker (nectria?) and some anthracnose. Some of the old canker wounds are big enough to fit my fist into! There is also some bacterial canker with gummosis on the cherries and peaches. The old peach trees have it really badly and seem to be in decline. All of these old trees are diseased on their main branches, so cutting out the disease isn't really an option.

I'd love some advice on how to deal with the perennial canker on the apple trees as well as general orchard health. Some of the really diseased apple trees still produce a ton of good looking fruit, so I'd like to keep them around for as long as possible. With all of the wounds, many of the branches are getting weak and some are almost girdled. I have some pictures and, as soon as I figure out how to upload them, I will.

When I started working there this fall the leaves had just about all fallen and I did 2 sprays of the trees and the ground with neem, fish, kelp, molasses and em to encourage competition and decomposition of the leaves. I recently finished a bit of pruning (sterilizing tools between every tree), and will be adding a thin layer of woodsy mulch to the mulch circles before it starts to warm up to smother any diseased leaves that haven't broken down. Oh, and I did remove all of the prunings and they will be burned. I am planning on doing the 'holistic sprays of spring' as everything starts growing.

I would love to hear any thoughts on my treatment plan and if there is anything important I am missing let me know.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2013 05:53AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: perennial canker on apple
June 26, 2013 11:25PM
I think you are off to a real good start. I have a couple of varieties that have had cankers of some kind since they were planted---my full on Neem program has snapped them out sickliness. I won't know if the wounds will recede or whatever they might do, but these trees are definitely healthier looking and grew twice as much as previious years. Keep with Neem. Woodsy mulch is already paying off after only one year here. As for peaches AARGH! Need to redisign the Neem program to their cycle--the apple cycle did not do anything I can see.
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