I have a couple apple trees (probably semi-dwarf, ~40 years old) growing in my yard that had been neglected and roughly pollarded for at least the last couple decades before we bought the property a couple years ago. Since we bought the house I have been doing my best to restore them, but bad luck (some of the most significant heat events on record) has coincided with some rookie mistakes (my overzealous pruning left the scaffolds exposed during said heat events, killing much of the upper surface of the exposed scaffolds).
The living tissue around these wounds has become infected with – as far as I can tell – split-gill fungus (Schizophyllum commune). And it appears to be spreading. At first it was restricted to the sites of the heat injuries (mostly upper surfaces of scaffolds that were angled toward the south). But now the lesions are larger, and the black-stained bark (which appears to indicate infection) has reached all the way to the trunk.
Is there anything I can do at this point? Would you recommend cutting off the affected scaffolds to try and limit the spread of the infection? I feel like I have finally got the tree into a reasonable shape after battling it for the last couple years – I’m bummed to see it in such poor health.
Anyhow, here are a couple recent photos taken during pruning and wound care:
Thanks for any advice you can offer!