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I have two varieties of crab apple in my backyard. One of the trees is quite healthy
but the other has had virtually of all of its leaves half chewed away. There no other
visible signs of insects or borers. Will this affect the future growth? Is there anything
that I should be looking for specifically?
Crabapples can be attacked by a number of diseases and insects, and some varieties
are more resistant than others. If the feeding damage occurred recently, don’t be
concerned, since we are nearing the end of the growing season anyway. If you have
heavy damage early in the season and it occurs each year, that could weaken the tree
and make it more susceptible to other problems. Rake up the leaves this fall and
start clean next spring. You could also spray the tree with a dormant oil this fall
after all the leaves fall off, if this is a common occurrence. Dormant oil smothers
out anything that is overwintering on the tree if you get thorough coverage, which
will help again with a clean start next year.
( April 2010)
How old does a flowering crab tree have to be before it blooms? Also, is this the
same as a crab apple tree?
Flowering crab apples can be included with other fruit trees. Blooming may occur as
quickly as three years of age or it may take eight. How fast they are growing, whether
or not it is a dwarf or standard variety and how much sunlight the tree gets can all
be factors. All crabapples flower and set fruit—it is whether you use the fruit or
not whether you consider it a fruit tree or an ornamental.
We planted a flowering crab in our back yard here in Springdale, about 5-6 years ago.
The Jan 2009 ice storm broke one of the large branches off, but the tree bloomed and
seemed to be fine except when looking at it from a certain angle. This year has been
a different story. The tree never bloomed and when it leafed out, the leaves are real
small, about one fourth the size of the leaves in the past. What do you think is wrong?
The tree has leafed out everywhere but just looks plain old BLAH. I would hope that
it is not on its deathbed.
It doesn't sound good. Check the main trunk for signs of borers. Once a tree is damaged,
that is often a calling card for boring insects to attack and finish it off. Obviously
it is not getting enough energy up to the top of the tree to form flower buds and
full sized leaves. You can try fertilizing and watering this season, but often once
major decline starts on a tree there is little you can do to reverse it. Good luck.
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