What is wrong with this tree?

This crabapple tree did not grow much branches, leaves, flowers, or fruits. Would like to know, what should I do to make this tree grow healthy again.

I’m not sure if this is the answer but I see two issues. The graft appears to be higher than what you typically see and if this is correct a large water sprout is growing below and might be zapping some of the trees energy. From what appears to be the graft and upward a heavy scale population exist. There might be other solutions but I would use dormant oil this winter for the scale and remove the water sprout. Bill

I am not sure it is grafted. It is ornimate crabapple tree. Dormant oil is a good idea, how do I get rid of the fungi grow on the bark?

The gray on the bark is lichen and will not hurt your tree. Many of my trees are losing leaves this time of year. Hate to say it, but its almost fall.

Your are right, mrsg47, we are having later fall temperature now, can feel winter is near in the morning. The problem is that it did not grow much at all this year. This tree is in apple family but I have never grown apples so I have no idea what might be the problem and how to fix it.

After taking a second look I see the small ornamental looking crabapples. As best I can tell from the picture the low limb goes upward into the canopy and has a large and totally different looking fruit which indicates that you might have a grafted tree. I’m not sure but the drastic change where the group of limbs start makes me think this is the graft point. I might be totally wrong because I can’t look over the suspected graft point. Most ornamental trees are grafted but they are usually within a few inches of the soil. Bill

Has the tree grown well for you before or is it new to you and maybe was there when you moved in? I ask since you say you have never grown apples but this one is obviously well past the first year in the ground.

If it is an ornamental crab, some of them are actually quite small, so it may not be growing much because of the variety you have and the fact that your little baby is basically fully grown. For instance, if it is something like a Liset (which would have had deep pink/red flowers) it might be near the full height.

Also, as Bill noted it sure does look like there are larger apples on top and like they come from that large sprout coming from lower down on the trunk and shooting straight up. It is hard to tell for sure from the photo, but based on the change of bark coloration, it looks like a long rootstock with a graft at the area where the other branching begins. If the sprout from lower on the trunk (rootstock) is the source of those different looking apples, I would definitely cut that off when it goes dormant since based on the growth it sure looks more vigorous and would be stealing the energy from the rest of the treed. If you take it off, the energy next spring will go into the rest of the tree and it may pump out more flowers and fruit, plus some new growth.

It also looks like there is a bunch of stuff growing around the bottom which we can just see the tops of in the picture. Depending on what you’re growing those plants could also be taking away nutrients, root space and water from the tree.

Can you take a picture of the lower section of the trunk and of the area where the main branches begin?

I need a closer picture of foliage, but I think a bad case of cedar apple rust caused defoliation.

I don’t know about any of it because the photo is kinda poor, but I agree with Bill, that low limb needs to come off…it looks retarded.

Thanks all for replying. I have no idea how old this tree is or what kind of tree. I thought it is crabapple, maybe not. I will take closer look again too, may be is was top worked, grafted at some point in the past. I am going to put sherlock holmes hat on and do some investigation. Stay tune…

1 Like