Apple tree misery

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with my Granny Smith apple tree?

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Can you tell us more when you planted it? What happened before it wilt? How’s the weather? Watering?, etc.

Just by looking at the trunk and seeing some darkened areas along the trunk, my guess is it was fire blight that did it in.


I planted it last year. It was in full bloom a few weeks ago and looked very well. The weather has not been anything out of normal, rainy every few days, some light watering on the extended dry periods. Temps have been mostly 60s and 70s with a few days of isolated 80s.

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According to this article from Washington State University, Granny Smith is considered to be highly susceptible to fire blight:

However, this article from the University of California suggests that “in Granny Smith, infections are usually limited and do not cause severe structural damage.”

Usually isn’t always, of course. (And unfortunately, it looks like.)

Wet and warm was a good ingredient for fire blight esp. if the variety is susceptible. The timing was right, too. The disease entered through flowers.


That’s a shame. I don’t know the cause, but it’s a shame.

Could be fire blight. Or something ate all of the roots. I’ve had that happen. Or herbicide…

I hope you will try again.

As @mamuang suggested, looks like fireblight. Consider researching blight resistance before you replace it as sellers rarely say much about disease resistance. Caveat Emptor. Cummins Nursery in NY is an exception- excellent descriptions- look under their “disease resistant” category.

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Does it look like I will be able to save the tree or is replacing it a better idea?

The general rule with fireblight is to take 8-18 inches (depending on the source) beyond the visibly infected area (and clean your shears after every cut with alcohol or bleach solution). I am not sure how your tree looks beyond the picture. I would also look for any sources nearby. When I lost several new pear trees last year to this I realized a neglected quince was the probable source. I removed it.

What other apple or pear varieties are you growing and where are you located? If your GS was in my orchard I’d dig it up right away and burn, bury or trash bag it. Highly contagious. I know this sounds drastic but it can spread fast to other trees.

If its any consolation many of us have lost entire trees to fireblight. Over the years I’ve lost about a dozen before I studied up on the disease, resistant varieties, etc.

Given the size of the tree, and guessing that @mamuang probably is right that it’s fire blight (that would have been my diagnosis based just on the photo), no, you can’t save that tree. Dig it up and burn it or chop it into a trash bag, and disinfect anything that touches it.

Agree with walnutclose. Fireblight damage shows midway up the tree. If it were only branches maybe, but it appears as nothing can be done for it since it is in the tree structure. I lost some Granny Smiths to collar rot a few years ago - looked nothing like this. If you do replant after two years in the same spot, make sure you hit the blossoms with Harbour (or equivalent) from bloom until at least a week after. Also, you can mix something like cuprofix with your dormant oil spray (early on - up to green tip) and that will help.

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