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Time to give up on apple tree?

 
pollinator
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I've got a young apple tree that has damage to the trunk. It hasn't looked very healthy the last couple of years and I'm thinking it's a lost cause. What do you think?
20200218_174247.jpg
girdled injured apple tree
 
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It sure looks pretty bad. The slit on the top looks like it's closing, but the bottom one is almost around the whole stem of it. Problem is there it is hard to keep it dry, so molds and stuff get in. Maybe take a thin trowel and scrape the earth around the stem away, make a dent.
 
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With a tree that small, It'd be really easy to start over with something healthier.
 
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Grafting the branches onto a new stem is also possible, although I've never done grafting myself.
 
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Is the apple tree growing as fast as it should? If so, try to safe and let it grown.
 
Sally Munoz
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J Grouwstra wrote:Grafting the branches onto a new stem is also possible, although I've never done grafting myself.



Yes, that's it!! I have done a little grafting, need more practice, and this poor little tree is not really growing, just stagnant so I knew something had to be done. The spot it's in is clearly too damp but I hated to give up on a tree.
Now it will have a new life grafted onto a healthy apple tree and if my practice grafts don't take, nothing really lost.
You guys are great, thank you so much!!
 
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I bet the tree could be saved still if you were considering saving it. If the trunk is slightly wounded and soil piled up around it, new roots could sprout and the mound around it may provide drier soil and the tree could make a surprise come back.

If you did this, you could still take a small cutting and graft, and possibly have two trees!

Best of luck!
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:I bet the tree could be saved still if you were considering saving it. If the trunk is slightly wounded and soil piled up around it, new roots could sprout and the mound around it may provide drier soil and the tree could make a surprise come back.

If you did this, you could still take a small cutting and graft, and possibly have two trees!

Best of luck!



I was thinking along the same lines... Maybe reopening the wound and trying for an air layer. That could even encourage it to send up suckers, which you can pick a new leader from to train as a trunk (if it's on its own roots), and try rooting the others or using them for grafting. If it's a grafted tree, it could provide some rootstock for other scions.
Hopefully it makes it!
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:With a tree that small, It'd be really easy to start over with something healthier.



This is my thought as well.  You could graft it and try all sorts of heroic measures to save it, but it will never be as healthy as a tree that did well on it's own without your help.  If it isn't thriving, I would take it out and plant a new tree.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:With a tree that small, It'd be really easy to start over with something healthier.



This is my thought as well.  You could graft it and try all sorts of heroic measures to save it, but it will never be as healthy as a tree that did well on it's own without your help.  If it isn't thriving, I would take it out and plant a new tree.



Yes, I'm with you two also.

Sally, unless your struggling tree is a harder to obtain cultivar or an heirloom variety of some sort I wouldn't personally spend a lot of time grafting a cutting from this tree.  Like yourself, I'm a fair hand at grafting fruit trees but it still seems to be a hit and miss proposition.  It's your tree and time of course but this is bare root tree season in WA.  You're in SW WA.  It would be fairly simple and relatively inexpensive to purchase a bare root replacement tree from one of the local nurseries down there such as Raintree or Burnt Ridge.

Plant the replacement bare root apple tree in a happier spot and you'll be eating apples from it before you know it!  :-)

Michael
 
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I also concur: once it's that badly damaged, it's better to just pull it up and start over.  That's a major wound that will never fully cover and it'll be an open doorway for fungal rot.  I've had the same exact thing in my orchard and the tree just never fully thrives thereafter.

Lesson learned: treat the bark of a new tree the way you would treat a baby's skin --- very gently.  
 
Sally Munoz
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Michael Journey wrote:You're in SW WA.  It would be fairly simple and relatively inexpensive to purchase a bare root replacement tree from one of the local nurseries down there such as Raintree or Burnt Ridge.
Michael



It was my Burnt Ridge order on it's way that really got me thinking about who gets to stay. ;)
I've got other apple trees that are perfectly happy and I saw an ad for $10 apple trees nearby so probably not the best use of my time to do too much for this one.
 
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