Help me identify this tree problem

Hello,
I recently returned from a year of military duty and found my poor neglected fledgling orchard in southwest Ohio has been seriously afflicted by some type of a problem other than the expected deer damage and mouse girdling. I was gone all last year, so the trees got no care whatsoever during that time. Hopefully this is a common problem (and therefore will have a well known solution), but I have not had any luck in identifying it. I work and getting to the county extension office would be a bit of a pain, so I thought the experts in this forum could probably identify my issue with a glance. The problem affects many types of trees and is very widespread. The symptoms are that the bark on the smaller branches and twigs appears to be 'split', for a few to up to 16 or so inches in length. Affected branches are mostly under about a half inch in diameter. There are actually wood fibers protruding from the areas of split bark. The bark has grown up around the split, indicating the problem probably occurred in the spring and the branch continued to grow at a normal or nearly normal rate. The problem seems to be affected by the sun as all the splits are on the undersides or on the north sides of the branches. In my orchard nearly 100% of my 30 or so trees are affected, including apple, plum, pear, peach, birch, and cherry. Curiously I have one north star cherry which does not appear to have the problem. Maple and birch trees are also affected along with some of the native brush I cannot give the proper name for. Nut trees, cedars, Osage (hedgewood), cottonwood, and sycamore do not appear to be affected. I cannot find any evidence of insect damage, and the fact that the problem appears on the shaded side of the branch leads me to suspect some type of fungal rot, but I would like to pinpoint the exact type if possible.
Check out some pictures at http://home.earthlink.net/~drbjape /
Any help in identifying this would be appreciated. Any treatment ideas would be welcome also, but once I can identify the problem I can probably find the cure on the web or in the literature.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Brian
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On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 01:18:42 +0000, Brian Allen wrote:

Good day Brian. Glad to see you made it back, hope you get to stay now.
You have a really strange problem runing through your orchard. I looked at your pics and then I hit the books. At first, I thought you maybe seeing the effects of bark blast due to freezing temps, but then I re-read your post and seen that you stated that all affected limbs were north facing. Winter damage is generally south western in it direction. After looking through my master gardeners hand-outs, I went over to the hortsense site.
http://pep.wsu.edu/hortsense / I would suspect that your trees are being affected anthracnose. Take a peek at the hortsence site and see if it looks right to you. Here's the direct link to the page in question:
http://pep.wsu.edu/hortsense/scripts/query/displayProblem.asp?tableName=plant&problemID=1&categoryID=3
Sorry, it's a large link address. The hortsense site uses frames so linking to pages is a bit of a bugger.
Generally the ag office also houses the master gardeners office also. The masters are volunteers and I'm sure someone would stop by your place and take a peek for you. Or you could drop off some samples for the ag office on your way to work ..ect. Take a gander at the warren county ag & natural resources page to get their contact info.
http://warren.osu.edu/ag/ag.htm
Good luck.
--
Yard Works Gardening Co.
http://www.ywgc.com
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I would need to see a more close up picture to be sure, but the girdling could be caused by cicadas or tree hoppers. They both cause damage when they lay eggs under the bark. Since the damage is on several different species of trees, I would say it is probably not caused by a pathogen. I know Ohio was one of the states affected heavily by the periodical cicadas last year, maybe try googleing and find some pictures to compare yours with.
Toad
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net said:

That's what came to mind when I looked at the pictures: cicadas.
(The damage looks very similar to the damage I get on raspberry canes when tree crickets lay eggs in them.)
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
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I took a look at some photos showing cicadia damage, and I think that is what I have. I wasn't here to see the hatch, but my neighbors said they were everywhere, so it makes sense that I would have some damage. Most of my trees are quite small <3 years, but don't think it will kill anything. At least it is nothing I have to worry about, not for another decade or so anyway.
Thanks again to all who took the time to help.
Brian
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Brian Allen wrote:

    I was just 'passing through' here so to speak and noticed your posted question concerning your mysterious multi-varietal tree 'damage.'     Here's my thought on this: I too have noticed similar signs of such damage over the years here on my 'farmscape' (SW Missouri.) After wondering and worrying about this for some time like you have - there came a day when I noticed a small 'sap-sucker' style woodpecker (a smallish bird, w/black & white feathers and if male, a red dot on back of head?) hanging beneath one of these small branches and pecking hard at the underside of the branch as it regularly advanced along the branch - and on inspection I noticed that it was apparently creating a trail of 'v-shaped' cuts through the bark - as your pix also seems to show. Have you perhaps noticed any such sapsuckers and/or wood peckers flying about in your orchard? I noticed howeever, that these trees (primarily in my case, suqar maple, some apples and 'lime' trees - tilias) - although affected like this, remained healthy, despite this 'damage.'     Since observing this bird doing this and later seeing it revisit and apparently 'inspect' these same areas for tidbits of food - I tend to think that perhaps the sapsucker is creating an inviting place of false security for insects. Whose eggs, larva or bodies it might later come upon and perhaps 'harvest' as food.     So perhaps the damage they apparently cause may be balanced somehow by them eating potentially even more 'damaging' parasitic insects? Do keep in mind however that I'm not an expert on this and this is just a rather 'lay' opinion.     Perhaps now someone else will comment about their experiences? Good luck! - Wes/MO
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Since observing this bird doing this and later seeing it revisit and apparently 'inspect' these same areas for tidbits of food - I tend to think that perhaps the sapsucker is creating an inviting place of false
security for insects. Whose eggs, larva or bodies it might later come upon and perhaps 'harvest' as food. So perhaps the damage they apparently cause may be balanced somehow by them eating potentially even more 'damaging' parasitic insects? Do keep in mind however that I'm not an expert on this and this is just a rather 'lay' opinion. Perhaps now someone else will comment about their experiences? Good luck! - Wes/MO
Good observation, Wes. Yes, sapsuckers will drill a small hole called a "well" in the bark. The well fills up with sap, which attracts insects. Then the bird returns and licks up sap and insects. Very clever!! Helathy plants can withstand sapsucker wells.
Emilie Nor Cal
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mleblanca wrote:

day! - Wes/MO
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Without seeing the photos, it certainly would appear to be cicada egg-laying damage.
-- David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7) email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com http://beyondgardening.com/Albums

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Upon examination of the photos, it is undoubtedly cicada damage.
-- David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7) email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com http://beyondgardening.com/Albums

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