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 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.
- posted 15 years ago