Help Apple Tree (Macintosh Dwarf)

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cjc2426
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Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:15 pm

Help Apple Tree (Macintosh Dwarf)

Post by cjc2426 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:49 pm

Any advice would be “greatly appreciated”! I have 6 Dwarf Apple trees. The Macintosh picture listed below trunk is split on both sides. Is this tree done? Should I curt it down and replant another? And why is the bark splitting and the sprouts come up every year….

Any suggestions would be wonderful and greatly appreciated.


Image

OrangePippin-Richard
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Re: Help Apple Tree (Macintosh Dwarf)

Post by OrangePippin-Richard » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:52 am

I think it has had it. The sprouts coming from the base are the rootstock trying to grow because the scion grafted on top has died.

Chuck Rhode
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: Help Apple Tree (Macintosh Dwarf)

Post by Chuck Rhode » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:22 pm

It's awfully close to the fence. Do you want to train it espalier? Maybe the fence was put in after the tree was planted, eh? It doesn't have a lot of growth yet and probably is not very valuable. I think I'd euthanize it and start over unless you're invested in it emotionally.

Things to do better next time:
  • Don't plant the graft union below grade but two to four inches above grade. Nursery trees of guaranteed varieties are all grafts. The top of the tree grows from a scion of the variety. Their adult size is controlled by the root stock. There is a visible junction between the root stock and the scionwood, which is called the graft union. I don't see it in the photo, unless it is above the second branch, in which case it's way too high or you have some weird sort of interstem graft or perhaps a branch graft of a second or third variety that has become the leader. If you plant too high, the root stock becomes too precocious or the trunk is too weak at the union. If you plant too low, the scion grows its own roots and gets as big as a house.
  • Plant a new whip in the open, leaving enough room for you to get all around it to prune, spray, and harvest. Take into account the nurseryman's advice about how wide your tree will ultimately grow. Stay out from under other trees like the pines that dropped the cones in the picture. Your apples need full sun.
  • Nuke the sod around the tree. Apples do better without the competition for water and nutrients. While you're attending to this, you'll notice any suckers coming up from the root stock before they get to the size in your photo. Cut them off often. You want all the energies of the root stock devoted to the scion.
  • Stake the tree. It will bear younger. Tie it up; it will need the support all its life to carry the weight of crops. It won't twist in the wind and create an ice cup at the soil surface before it gets some growth, either.
  • In late fall whitewash the trunk with one part interior latex paint diluted with one part water. Do this every season for a decade to prevent sun scald. In early spring when the sun gets hot but nights are still below freezing, trees crack. This damages them from dehydration and disease. The whitewash keeps their trunks cooler during the day so they are not so likely to take up moisture, freeze, and burst. Sun scald is a problem in protected areas near a reflecting body such as a fence or wall.
  • Circle a hunk of critter fence loosely around the trunk and fasten it to the stake to deter winter-foraging rodents (and puppies).
  • Prune off all lower branches growing below about two feet (or maybe you could keep three or four strong ones as low as 18 inches, the height of your critter fence). It looks like someone has, but, because they were not trimmed closer to the trunk, they've regrown. They must have been fairly large, too. Perhaps the suckers are coming up because too much top growth was removed during pruning.
I get preachy. Those are just the few things that occurred to me, viewing your snapshot.

36° — Wind N 9 mph

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