I have a couple of 50yr old Baldwin apple trees in my back yard. One
in particular is starting to suffer bark loss on some of its main
branches and some of the small emanating branches are dying.
What underlying process is causing the bark loss? I assume this
will eventally happen to all the branches and the tree will die. A
silly queston perhaps, but is there any interventive treatment that
might delay the tree's death? My conclusion is that the tree is
most likely dying of old age, but I'm guessing "old age" is just a
catch-all term for some combination of maladies that are probably
impossible to treat. Or do trees simply have a have a life cycle?
(Obviously I'm no arborist.)
Yes, to the last, but 50 yrs isn't "old" for apple trees...
Another possibility is borers...they lay their eggs in the branches
and the larvae hatch and burrow along through the cambium layer
munching away...the loose bark is a symptom of where they've been.
Can be treated, but difficult. Lots of different kinds and life cycle
is somewhat different for each. Along about June or so may see adult
beetles -- at that time, spraying can be effective to at least slow
down the proliferation.
Depending on the variety, the Bayer Tree root system insecticide may
help. It is a systemic that is taken up by the root system and is
effective against some types.
Your local county agent or a good arborist can acquaint you with the
most common varieties found locally and provide more specifics...
I think you have the right diagnosis - old age. While I hear many
stories of a 300 year old oak tree, I 've never heard of a 300 year
old apple tree. So say good bye and remove the apple trees by
digging them up and burning every single piece of them. You don't
want the diseases it harbors to infect your new stock.
300 would be remarkable, yes, but 50 isn't particularly
old...certainly not old enough to recommend removing a specimen sight
unseen. IIRC, the oldest in the US approach 200 years of age.
"How Long Do Apple Trees Live?
The conventional view is that they live to around 100 years, perhaps a
little longer. The informed view is that they could go to 150
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