2 of my 4 apricot tree have wilt on the entire tree as the
leaves are just opening. They just finished blooming and started leafing out
with everything seeming okay. I did have a mild freeze 2 weeks ago but just
started showing a couple days ago. From
what I read Verticillium Wilt often just shows up on part of tree, but is a
slower decline than what I am seeing. I don’t see any seepage rot points or borer
damage that I note. If it is Verticillium Wilt Seems not really treatable and I
should say goodbye to the other 2 as well. Any advice or possible other
suggestions of the issue appreciated.
I can’t tell too much from the pictures due to the focus. Either its freeze damage, perhaps delayed for some reason, or the rootstock is not happy. Trees have energy in the upper part to leaf out, but at about where your tree is if there is no energy from the root the growth will stop. In either case about the only thing you can do is wait.
The freeze was 2 weeks ago. and they looked fine for over a week, and to me it doesn’t look like cold damage, but not sure what delayed damage may appear. I am thinking more a root issue, but usually when you see something like this it’s to late. We have been wet, but their on a slope.
Verticillium Wilt is uncommon in grassy areas (unless vegetables like tomatoes were grown there previously) and normally it induces a slower decline. If you had rain during bloom, I would bet this is Brown Rot Blossom and Twig Blight. This is a serious disease that can even kill a young tree. You should cut all affected branches back to the healthy wood (burn all removed branches and leaves, don’t compost them!) and apply a fungicide spray. Disinfect pruners after each cut. Preventive treatment is a fungicide spray at “red bud” and then one more at petal fall. Also copper spray after leaf fall. Note that if you have this fungus in your orchard, you will have to repeat the treatment every year (unless it’s dry and sunny all spring long).
Thanks for replies. I am leaning towards roots issues due to moisture in my heavy clay soils even though they are on a slight slope we have had a a wet winter, but not so much excessive rain of recent. I really didn’t think it fit Verticillium and didn’t really come on as cold damage in my opinion , had not looked Brown Rot Blossom and twig Blight but thanks for that possibility and I will watch for the cankers if they develop. If I were to prune the wilted areas I would have to remove every limb and unless I see recovery likley pull the whole trees, but from my limited experience I will unlikley see a turnaround. I lost my Balaton Cherry in a similar fashion last spring, which I attributed to wet feet at the time, but not certain, it was a newly planted potted tree which i re-potted and attemped to dry out but it never recovered.
I had something very similar happen to 3 of my apricots (Tomcot/Hunza) and i chainsawed them. They started to leaf out and just stopped growing. Very small leaves… That was a few years ago. I still have a Puget Gold left out there, so i’m keeping an eye on that one.
Yes, it is probably cambium kill due to sudden drops in temps during the winter if my experience means anything. Trees flower out and leaves start growing normally and then wilt and trees die. If you check you will see the roots are still healthy.
As I often say, apricots are the frail sisters of the stone fruit family- at least here in the northeast.
My Tomcots were on Lovell and my Hunza was on Citation. The Hunza actually sent new shoots up from the soil…so it had to be some sort of winter damage like Alan suggests. My Puget Gold sits in a spot that gets winter long shading, so maybe that helps some…not sure.
Apricots aren’t well adapted to wet and/or humidity. Out here in the desert with calcareous soils apricots are tougher than peaches. I’ve seen them thrive and fruit with decent soil and any kind of water advantage, like runoff from a road or roof, no irrigation.
In my hippy days back in the early '70’s I used to hitch out to near Santa Fe to visit friends occasionally. I was impressed by the ancient apricot trees I’d see growing there in the very high desert where temps would fall suddenly and get extremely cold during test winters. The trees were just growing wild.
The pictures look exactly like a classical Monilinia damage (it’s a shorter name than Brown Rot Blossom and Twig Blight, the length of which probably indicates the lack of awareness; it’s called Moniliose in French and Монилиоз in Russian). Somehow, there is not too much info about this disease in English. However, it is very well known in Europe and extensively discussed in foreign language orchard forums, especially with respect to apricots and cherries. If weather during bloom was cool and wet (rain, fog) and these characteristic symptoms (dying/withering twigs) appear on apricots or cherries within 1-3 weeks after bloom, it’s Moniliose with 99.9% probability. Likely, many “mysterious” deaths of apricot and cherry trees during spring are actually caused by Moniliose.
Official sources say “yes”, but practitioners say copper is not very effective. Synthetic fungicides are recommended, in particular, Chorus (its active ingredient is CYPRODINIL, the same as in Vangard).
What sources- where has it been diagnosed in the U.S? When I googled the word all I got was the brown rot form. Cornell does follow commercial apricot production here and make recs but doesn’t mention this disease in their guidelines.
In English, UC Davis does recognize this disease: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r5100111.html, and recommends 2 to 3 applications of a synthetic fungicide spray. There are many sources in French and literally hundreds of pages in Russian.