We have had several apple trees on our little homestead for about 15 years now. I would say its been a total of 6 all together but not all of them have lived. So we are down to 2 now. The oldest one is about 15 years old. The other about 5 years old.
The oldest one has been producing apples faithfully (not fully though) for the past 10 years. This year it looked to be an amazing crop. That's right, I said that in the past tense. After blooming and making a lot of apples we ended up having to prune it back due to disease. Fire Blight is the name of the disease.
The same pruning had to be done for the younger tree. It didn't have as many apples but it would have been more than the previous year being a younger tree. It was just starting to get full and beautiful. It's sad to look at it now.
Here is the younger tree before it was pruned.
After the pruning. It makes me want to cry. It was so beautiful!
This is what Fire Blight looks like on an apple tree. The leaves start to brown and die. Looking like someone took a fire to it. Hence the name- Fire Blight.
All affected areas had to be cut off to avoid more spreading of the disease. This little tree had it bad.
We could have prevented this by paying more attention to our trees. I noticed it after it bloomed but I thought it was just a bad spot or two. When it started getting on the older tree we knew we had a problem.
We researched the potential problem online. It coincided with what the Ag. man said at the County Extension office. Fire Blight.
We were told to prune off all affected parts of the tree and then burn the limbs. The man also told us to sterilize all tools that touched the affected limbs. Fire Blight is that bad and contagious. He also told us that it could end up affecting all vegetation in our yard. (I sure pray not.)
(The disease just seems to prefer apple trees as well as other fruit trees.)
Here are some of the apples that we had to cut off the bigger tree. Makes me sick.
Hubby pruning the bigger tree.
(A pile of apples from the bigger tree from the diseased limbs.)
Have I learned anything from this? You bet! I will be more vigilant when it comes to my fruit trees as I have been with the garden and flowers.
I also need to get busy and research other possible diseases that can occur with fruit trees so I know what to look out for.
How do your orchards grow this year?