There’s nothing more appealing than the sight of a fresh, flawless apple. The flip side of this, however, is that it’s hard to find something more disappointing than an apple covered in scabs, bruises or lesions. This is why tree disease treatment is one of the most important precautions to look into when becoming a tree owner.
And, if you live in the Southern United States (as well as many other locations around the world) Apple Scab is one of the biggest culprits behind this problem.
Join us, today, as we take a closer look at the symptoms, spread and treatment of Apple Scab, so you can protect against it, and treat it when it does come up.
The symptoms of Apple Scab usually start in the leaves surrounding the actual buds, themselves. These infections look like dull splotches of olive green discoloration. As the tree grows with these spots, the lesions grow into clearly-outlined circles, with the worst of them resulting in deformed, twisted leaves. These may, if the infection is bad enough, simply drop off, later on.
Fruits may become infected with the condition at any time, and this can result in apples dropping far earlier than they otherwise might. They display the same circular, green lesions, and may also crack at various points in their skin, depending on the infection.
One last identifier for this disease is a lot more insidious: sometimes Apple Scab can infect the fruit, ahead of harvest time, with symptoms only showing once the apples are in storage. Known as storage scab, this is a difficult position to deal with, as there’s little way of spotting it before the work of harvesting and storing has already been done.
As the name implies, apple scab is a condition that chiefly affects Malus trees, such as crabapples and apples. The disease also affects pear trees (pyrus communis), mountain ash (sorbus), and cotoneaster (cotoneaster).
Interestingly, this fungal pathogen is actually composed of several substrains that each only affect a specific plant genus. One strain will affect only a specific kind of tree, while another will only work on another genus.
Be careful, however: crabapple and apple trees, being in the same genus, are both affected.
Stemming from a particularly resilient fungus, Apple Scab spends the colder winter months hibernating in the wood and leaves of diseased trees.
When spring comes back around, the warmer weather prompts the fungus to forcibly eject from the tree in the form of spores. These spores get around with great efficiency, helping to spread the disease. And, once infected, new plants can grow new spores, which can sprout and spread as efficiently as any other.
In cases where leaves are severely infected, they can turn yellow and fall out early. This is bad news, especially over long periods, prompting the tree to grow smaller, each year.
While no arborist wants to imagine their precious trees struggling with an illness, the truth is it really can “happen to anybody”. The important thing is to know how to deal with it when it does happen:
As the saying goes, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.
This applies to tree disease treatment in a very real way.
The first step you’ll want to take is to rake up any leaves, plant debris and other organic matter which may have fallen off the tree, still infected with the disease. Immediately dispose of this, so it doesn’t have time to reinfect any surrounding trees. Make doubly sure you’ve got every last scrap.
Then prune back crabapple trees and remove water sprouts from the main trunk. At the time of planting, also make sure to space out your trees using their measurements at maturity to make sure you aren’t overcrowding them.
Fungicides are incredibly important to the management and control of Apple Scab infections.
Regardless of which brand you use, make sure to apply it according to the directions labelled on the bottle itself. Apply the spray in the early months of spring, in order to stop spores before they have time to spread.
Of course, the best solution to any tree disease problem is to simply plant trees that don’t get that disease. Disease-resistant crabapple trees make for a hardy solution to the problem of Apple Scab infections. Look into some of the following trees, for improved results:
Tree illnesses are unpleasant. This is a living, breathing thing you’re typically going to spend a lot of time trying to make grow up healthy, and for it to catch the equivalent of an arboreal sniffle and suddenly stop growing is just not fair.
You need tree disease treatment to help you get ahead of sicknesses. Get in touch with us to discover a world of tree maintenance and professional removal services, and do what’s best for your tree today.