One of my apples, a “Strawberry Parfait”, has been the worst tree in my apple orchard for both fireblight and cedar apple rust. The tree is almost 4 years old, and about 3 inches diameter at the trunk base. It has been my best growing tree, but also seems to be the most disease prone.
Last year, I saw a few light strikes of fireblight that I promptly cut out. This year has been much, much worse. So far, I have had to cut out the top of the tree, plus a lot of side branches. There are still sunken spots in the bark on several branches, with some close to the main trunk. If I remove all of those, there will be nothing left but a stump.
So, my question is what to do with this tree? I don’t want it to end up being a disease source for the rest of the orchard, which has some susceptible varieties in it, that so far have been spared.
I have thought of the following:
- Leave it alone and see if it can just deal with the fireblight on it’s own.
- Pull the whole tree up and start over with a different variety.
- Cut the trunk off about 2 or 3 feet off the ground (removing all sunken areas in the process) and try to topwork in a different variety to the trunk.
- Cut the tree off below all sunken areas and let it regrow from the stump that is left.
I am tempted to try option 3 first, and if that fails, try option 4, or 2. I’m not sure how successful I will be with topworking it, as I have never tried to do it before. I have an Ashmead’s Kernel that I will probably try to use, as the Kernel I currently have is not doing well…maybe do to location. My fear is that having the Strawberry Parfait as an intermediate stem would impart some of the fireblight susceptibility to the Ashmead’s Kernel.