Opinions & Experience With Apple Mosaic Virus or Similar

Hi All, I’m looking for some opinions and advice. My ginger gold, columnar apple, black oxford and russian aromatnaya quince appear to be infected with apple mosaic virus or similar. Signs first showed on the ginger gold and I was considering ripping it out (even though it just started producing) but seeing as the virus has displayed itself in three other trees; I now wonder if some of my trees are not displaying symptoms and could be a source of future infections. I currently have 8 other apples (5 on their first leaf) and two pears. I know infected pears typically will not display symptoms. I also suspect that the virus is in other plants around my property and have for some time. They would also be sources of reinfection. Despite the ginger gold showing the most symptoms (pics below), it is putting on some great growth this year with little to no fruit drop thus far.

Yes, I understand the need to disinfect pruning tools and maintain good “hygiene” but nothing on the internet discusses how to manage a virus (aside from removing infected trees). I have also been looking for a list of virus resistant trees but I can’t find any information on which varieties fit the bill.

  • Does anyone currently have or had apple trees with a mosaic virus and how did you come to your decision to either keep or remove the trees?

  • If you kept the trees, what has been your experience?

  • Does anyone know of some virus resistant cultivars?

I’m not an expert, but I’m not sure that your photos show mosaic virus damage. The leaves seem to be damaged physically, perhaps by pests, and show discoloration only near the damage.

I have a Frankentree which displays what I believe to be mosaic virus. Most of the grafts don’t show symptoms, but several do. Here’s what it looks like on Hunge:

And here’s Hall on the same tree:

Neither of these exhibit noticeably diminished vigor or production.

Those of you more knowledgeable about mosaic virus should wade in if you think I’m mistaken about my own diagnosis and/or my doubts about the OP’s.


I agree with @jerry that @Sambucus’s pics don’t look like mosaic virus.

Here’s mine. Got it on Fuji.

Either the tree was infected when it was sent to me or I grafted infected scionwood on the tree. I took me two years before I realized what I had. By then, I spread it to other apple trees as I did not clean pruners from one apple tree to the next. I only clean between different kind of trees apples to peaches, etc). Lesson learned.

The trees, the fruit are not affected that I could tell. The leaves look weird but that’s it.

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Thank you both for your thoughts. I agree, my leaves do look different. I haven’t been able to find any insects I can attribute to the leaf damage. After a little more research, I think I might be dealing with apple chlorotic leaf spot virus. The symptoms description mirror what I have seen on my trees and would account for the distorted leaves. I placed an imagine of a non-distorted leaf down below.

"Malus cultivars, symptoms can include chlorotic leaf spots and/or ring and line patterns on foliage, asymmetric leaf distortion, "

I guess my approach this year will be to monitor the trees. If the virus doesn’t effect the fruit or the vigor/health of the trees, then maybe I will take a live and let live stance.

For those currently dealing with a virus, any suggestions as to what cultivars might be more resistant?

I don’t know what varieties are virus resistant. I know that sanitation is important. These days, I clean my pruner with Clorox wipes thoroughly after I finish pruning my virus-infected tree before moving on to the next tree.

Most of my trees are infected because I did not sanitize my pruners and loppers in previous years and the virus has spread. A couple of trees that do not have sign of virus are those that I have not grafted on them.

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Isn’t apple chlorotic virus more with cholrotic spots?

All that I can offer is a list of which apples on my infected Frankentree are showing symptoms, and which aren’t. The tree has likely been infected for six or seven years, and though symptomatic grafts are spread over the tree, it could be that the virus hasn’t reached every graft. I can’t guarantee that some of the grafts which are asymptomatic now will remain so over time,

That disclaimer aside, here are the varieties which do show mosaic virus symptoms on this tree:

  • Black Oxford
  • Hall
  • Hawaii (3 grafts)
  • Jefferis
  • Hunge
  • Kerry Pippin
  • Kidd’s Orange Red (2 grafts)
  • Lamb Abbey Pearmain
  • Magnum Bonum
  • Swaar
  • Viking

Here are those which do not show symptoms:

  • Airlie Red Flesh
  • Apricot
  • Arkansas Black
  • Bryson’s Seedling
  • Burgundy
  • Chestnut Crab
  • Cornish Aromatic
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin (2 grafts)
  • Fearn’s Pippin
  • Frostbite
  • Fuji
  • Hawkeye
  • Kandil Sinap
  • King David
  • Margil
  • Mott’s Pink
  • Pipsqueak
  • Red Royal Limbertwig
  • Saint Cecelia
  • Smokehouse
  • Spigold (2 grafts)
  • Suntan (2 grafts)
  • Williams’ Pride

Thanks Jerry, I appreciate the list!.. and disclaimer accepted.

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