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Sick trees

(20 Posts)
Annobel Fri 24-Aug-12 13:22:01

Does anyone here have expertise on trees? I have two ornamental crab trees - they bear small black fruits rather than the usual crab apples. They started shedding leaves early in the summer and the foliage is now very sparse. There is no sign of the fruit. I have had a close look at the bark and found that there are big splits in several places. The rowan next to them doesn't look too healthy either. These are not old trees - around ten years old.

JessM Fri 24-Aug-12 13:51:47

Suspect they are not going to survive annobel . Sounds terminal sad

jeni Fri 24-Aug-12 13:55:54

If I was a vet and they were animals, I'd ---------------- wait to see what happened!

Bags Fri 24-Aug-12 14:03:21

It sounds as if they've got a disease (fungal perhaps) or an infestation. It happens. Plants get ill as well as animals.

merlotgran Fri 24-Aug-12 17:00:27

Sometimes the effects of a hard winter, followed by a drought (yes, we did have one earlier in the year) can cause this kind of distress, Annobel. If they started shedding leaves early in the summer the damage was probably already done before the rain came.

Annobel Fri 24-Aug-12 17:05:21

My neighbour's son works as a tree surgeon, so I will ask him if he knows anything about tree ailments. These poor things certainly look sick. And the blossom in the spring was fantastic!

Bags Fri 24-Aug-12 17:36:34

They might recover if it's weather related. Trees all along the weather side of some of the sea lochs got a right old scorching with wind and salt water in a May storm a couple of years ago and looked dead all summer. They're fine now.

JO4 Fri 24-Aug-12 17:37:45

Our walnut tree is the same. Been shedding its leaves all summer. Makes the garden look autumn-ish.

Saw a clump of trees in the country when on bike ride today with leaves already turned. I think it was the drought earlier.

Ariadne Fri 24-Aug-12 18:03:36

I lost a crab apple tree a couple of years ago - it was a fungal infestation. Sad.

But my white beam, in the corner, always starts shedding its leaves early; it has already started and DH is much offended bacuse it is messing up his lawn. (Lawn! Patch of grass, more like.)

But I have a hawthorn which is so twisted and bent you'd think it was on its last legs, but it isn't.

Annobel Fri 24-Aug-12 18:15:59

These started shedding leaves in June. And any of lovely bronze leaves that are left look very sorry for themselves.

Bags Fri 24-Aug-12 18:43:36

The silver birch next to my house started its autumn leaf tinting in early July (this is usual) and leaf fall about a week later. I always notice a change quite soon after (within a fortnight of) the midsummer solstice. Coming back up north on 4 August from Wales, the trees south of Glasgow along the A74 were showing definite early autumnal shades of colour. Just shows what a difference a few degrees of latitude north can make.

Bags Fri 24-Aug-12 18:44:48

PS there are LOTS of trees lining the A74. It's lovely. You can really imagine what the ancient Caledonian Forest must have been like smile

JO4 Fri 24-Aug-12 19:11:49

One of our pear trees has a large-ish split in the bark. With a pretty little blue self seeded flower growing out of it (which I can't remember the name of). Still gets loads of pears.

Annobel Fri 24-Aug-12 19:49:45

Perhaps you could grow mistletoe in that split, jingl.

moomin Fri 24-Aug-12 19:57:46

Our crab apple trees were covered in blossom in the Spring, and usually are very heavy croppers. This year, due to the horrendous wet weather, the blossom wasn't visited by bees who all stayed at home in the dry. The consequence of this has been not one single fruit and a pair of sorry looking trees!

Our apple trees further down the garden have apples on the windward side of the crab apple trees, so I presume they were wind-pollinated.

MrsJamJam Fri 24-Aug-12 20:00:06

Annobel I have just the same problem with a flowering crab apple - the fruiting one nearby is always healthy and currently weighed down with masses of fruit. The ornamental one shed most of its leaves last year too, and looked really sad, but I gave it another chance. When the leaves started dropping off again (having looked ok in early spring) I decided to spray with a fungicide (as I do with a rose afflicted with blackspot). Think we were a bit late this year, so the plan is to start the fungicide early next year as soon as the leaves appear and repeat as instructed on the packet. If that doesn't work, guess it might be for the chop, but I like to give plants lots of chances!

Would love to hear how you get on with yours, especially if you get advice from the tree surgeon.

Annobel Fri 24-Aug-12 20:03:35

I'm hoping it's just weather-related, because they are so very pretty in the spring.

MrsJamJam Fri 24-Aug-12 20:18:00

Perhaps mine just doesn't like the cold wind and relentless rain here in Devon, but I can't do much about that.

JO4 Fri 24-Aug-12 21:17:08

Got too much mistletoe in the Bramley apple Annobel. hmm

Annobel Sat 25-Aug-12 16:04:21

Neighbour's son said the splits in the bark looked like stress fractures, but will have a look at his books or the internet or something. I will give the trees another chance and hope for better weather next year. Meanwhile, a dressing of something to prevent fungi invading the split bark sound like a good idea.