I am in USDA zone 8 (Oregon) and I have a question about an apple tree in my yard, the cultivar is Transparent Yellow (or Yellow Transparent) on a semi-dwarf rootstock. I got this tree from a guy in the area who grafts apple trees as a hobby and was thinning out his garden in Oct 2007. The tree is about 6 years old I think he said. (I had actually been looking for this specific cultivar for several years)
Anyway, I planted it according to the generally accepted planting directions, dug a big hole, watered it, mulched it, made sure the tree wasn't planted too deep and all of that. This was around Oct 2007. The tree needs a bit of pruning, I decided to hold off on it for a year to make sure it would survive transplant shock. The one bit of pruning I did do around May of this year was the tree had 3 verticals competing to be the leader, I topped 2 of them and the remaining one I nipped 2 of the top shoots to leave a single one as the leader. This single shoot grew about a foot this summer. So far so good.
Now, here is the part I'm concerned about. This spring (April) the tree flowered, here are the pics of it:
Then in May, most of the flowers dropped off leaving the green fruit spurs (I also own an Indian Summer crabapple tree planted in the front of the house that flowered at the same time as this one did, I assume they pollenated. The Indian Summer produced -lots- of crabapples.)
Then in late May just about all of the fruit spurs withered, wilted, drooped over, got brown and dropped off. The leaves were not affected, just the fruit spurs. The tree produced a total of 6 apples. The apples that WERE produced were perfect. (tasted exactly like transparent yellow, at least like how I remember transparent yellow tasting from 25 years ago) Here are the pics from that:
The apples started dropping in early August, which is normal for this cultivar. However, now the tree seems to be beginning to show fall colors, here's current pics:
Now, I'm not particularly upset about the yield this year - if the tree had produced a big crop of apples I would have pinched most of them off very early since I wanted the tree to put it's energy into establishing it's root system, not producing apples.
But what concerns me is that it -appeared- that most of the blossoms pollenated and were well on their way to producing apples - then just abruptly died off.
I have looked up the diseases of apple trees to see if there is a match to any symptoms. Blossom Wilt is one that might be a cause - but it is supposed to shrivel fruits and damage leaves, and that did not happen. There are no other symptoms.
Unfortunately as Transparent Yellow is (apparently, nowadays) not commercially viable, nobody sells these apples anymore, and there is little information out there other than old charts of when it is supposed to ripen. None of the nursuries in the area (including one of the largest which claims itself as apple experts) have ever heard of this cultivar, and most of them in any case are more interested in selling you a "modern" cultivar with fruit that tastes like warm water, and has been (apparently) genetically engineered to be resistant to everything short of a nuclear explosion, I assume because once they have your money and their door hits your ass on the way out, they don't want to see you again - at least, not complaining about your tree you bought from them.
I am hoping that someone with some of these who has some experience might be able to tell me if what I'm seeing is perfectly normal, or something to be alarmed about. Also I am wanting to know what I should be spraying, and when.