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Honeygold trees have split bark ....

Posted by Pat Pryal 
Honeygold trees have split bark ....
December 05, 2016 04:53AM
I was out putting tree guards on my trees before winter hits and noticed that about 2/3 of my Honeygold trees ( 10 trees total ) have split bark down near the base about 2-3" above the graft. It looks like they were slit with a sharp knife, but not recently, and the slits are actually curved away from the trunk a bit on the edges. The trees were fine all summer and fall. The slits are not from sunscald, the trees were planted out last spring and were in good shape. The slits are anywhere from 2" - 4" long and are not on any particular side of the trunk. These trees are 2 years old and are about 3/4" caliper above the graft. I'm wondering if this condition is something specific to Honeygold. I have almost 450 trees and these are the only ones to have this problem. They are on M106 roots. Any suggestions on what might have caused the splits?

thanks, Pat
Re: Honeygold trees have split bark ....
December 27, 2016 01:21AM
Hi Pat,

I had bark splitting on some younger Rhode Island Greening trees (Rootstock MM111) a few years back that also had nothing to do with sunscald or freezing temps. It occurred in mid fall and I believe it to have been caused by slowed growth being followed by a surge of new growth as a deep irrigation cycle was put in place before the end of the water season (our irrigation water season ends +/- Oct 15) and before our usual fall/winter rains begin normally in November.

I trimmed the split and curled up bark to clean up the edges and the tree healed over within the next two seasons.

The splits are not usually fatal themselves but can be a source of other opportunistic infection.

My tree splits were out of the blue and caused me some alarm too. . . I empathize.

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Honeygold trees have split bark ....
December 28, 2016 12:13AM
Thanks Paul, I'm really not worried about them, I think they'll heal just fine. I was just wondering why it had occurred with just one variety of apple. I have to think there is something specific to Honeygold that caused the splits. I'll peel away the curled bark next spring and see what they look like.

take care, Pat
Re: Honeygold trees have split bark ....
August 14, 2017 06:46PM
Hi Pat
I had the same thing happen to 5 golden russets in my orchard this past winter. Out of 50 trees this variety was the only one that had this damage. I believe the damage occurred after a big temperature drop but I can't be sure. These trees are 5 years old and only two have recovered. Interesting to note is one of them has this twisted truck thing going on. I'm not sure if this is common to the variety but it makes me hesitant to plant more golden russets.
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