Is this apple tree doomed?

Hi folks,

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!

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…and here’s one more view of the damage:

If it is producing an acceptable amount of fruit then no. Get a replacement tree started.


@poncirusguy - thanks, yes, the tree is still producing good fruit, though I’m equally concerned about its use as a shade tree. It’s location in our yard makes it a refuge for the kids in the heat of the summer. I’d love to save the tree considering how long it would take to establish a new one of comparable size. Though your comment about getting a replacement tree started implies you think it’s as bad as I do :confused:

If you wish to keep it you will need to paint over the bare wood and protect the good bark against sunscald with white paint.


Thanks, @poncirusguy !

I paint all my trees with a kaolin clay paint to protect against sun scald. I’ve read that if you use latex paint you’ll want to water it down 50%


I paint, but only with the appropriate fungicide or insecticide. The tree will use air to seal itself. At most I might put elmer’s or wax on a wound.Something that falls off when the tree heals itself.

I learn that the hard way on mimosa’s…lol

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