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 apple tree in desperate need of saving 
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:28 am
Posts: 2
Location: Illinois
Post apple tree in desperate need of saving
My 5-in-1 apple tree bore at least 4 varieties last year but never got to enjoy the fruits due to pest problems (used organic method but to no avail)...then over the winter months rabbits unknowingly ate up the tree trunk stripping it of its entire circumference of bark 2in from the ground to 8in upwards. I used a tree wrap to cover the exposed part and this spring it had lots of blossoms that turned into tiny fruits but there were noticeably lesser number of leaves that later turned brown and fell off their branches. Should I just cut down the tree from the exposed part and let the new growths of broad healthy leaves from the base take over? Or can this tree still be saved? Pls this is my only fruit tree in the backyard, I want to hold on to it if I can...any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
Glenna


Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:05 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:24 pm
Posts: 126
Location: Puyallup, WA
Post Re: apple tree in desperate need of saving
I have read about using "bridge grafts" to repair trees that have had the bark stripped off by rodents or machinery. The bridge is made by using several pieces of scion wood and grafting one end of each below and one end above the area where the bark is stripped. This repair would have had to have been done before growth started in the spring. It is probably too late to save your tree now.

Are the original graft unions below the damaged area? Your tree's root system should still be intact but it is likely the regrowth will not be of desirable fruiting cultivars.

If you are comfortable with grafting then allow the tree to grow this year but allow only one new shoot to grow. You will use this as the main trunk. Next spring obtain some scion of cultivars that are more pest and disease resistant in your area to start over. The resulting tree may grow quicker than replanting because you already have a well established root system.


Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:46 am
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:30 pm
Posts: 16
Post 
Hmm... Seems these 5 on 1 trees have quite a few problems


Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:12 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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I'll concur with Dubyadee: the fruiting portion of this tree sounds like a goner~ Too bad the damage wasn't found / dealt with in the doormat season; bridge-grafting could have pulled it through.
I'd suspect you're either gonna see rootstock (growth from its "non-fruiting" roots), or the "base tree" variety (Golden Del?). If so, you can do better than that... I'm curious how old the tree is" - I'll assume 2 or 3 years? (no need to answer) The advice to graft the eventual "shoot" is best, but if you're not comfortable doing that, I wonder if you'd be bold enough to try something I've not? I've seen 3 trees planted in the same hole, each leaned slightly away from the center. There'd be your pollination, and varieties; albeit @ three times the price, but utilizing the "same hole" (and giving that rodent more of a choice)! I am serious though - if only "brainstorming" after the damage~
As also pointed out, those 5-on-1 Fruit trees are problem prone :? although this certainly wasn't the trees fault! Last thought: if you successfully grafted the existing root "shoot" early next spring, the following season or two you could also graft on a couple limbs of your choice.
Good Luck!

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Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:14 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:28 am
Posts: 2
Location: Illinois
Post THANK YOU!!!
You've given me invaluable lessons on caring for my semi-ruined apple tree planted as soon as we moved in our house back in '99. I tried to follow the instructions on how to best deal w/ the multi variety fruit tree (ie:center open), 'twas just I didn't anticipate our MUTANT rodents who've taken residence in our fenced garden plots....they've since figured out how to build their nests (winter-spring)right into our vegetable garden which faced our kitchen always in plain sight, at the base of evergreens, etc....I guess those areas afforded them more protection from stray cats, opossums,etc. and the fences made me complacent thinking my prescious plants will stay safe while my neighbors' were being ravaged.
In spite of all the bad rap these particular 3/4/5-in-1 trees I still haven't given up on succeeding raising one in the future....gardening has given me cathartic outlet in this hectic world and patience used to be not one of my strong suits...pls continue to send my way anything relevant re tree care...Viron I will definitely try your suggestion, in fact fuji (beni shogun)apple is next in my list.


Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:41 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 
Glenna, good attitude! Along with my various fruiting trees & vines, I'd also planted a couple hundred Sequoia Trees. The rodent damage was devastating them; along with several Red cedar and Douglas fir trees. I set up some perch-posts in the worst areas, then busted my butt keeping the grass down so the "Owl" (or hawk?) could guard their trunks. The effort was better than nothing - but the damage just moved further afield.
I then went "inorganic" (unless petroleum may be considered organic). I took a gallon "paint can" of roofing tar (for patching asphalt roofs - cheep), a long heavy rubber glove, and sacrificed a set of rain gear as I crawled under and smeared a "glove full" of this tar about a foot up and around the trunks of all these trees.
I'd planted 4 apple trees in a clearing among them, so I gave them the same "treatment." Perhaps outside the realm of "fruit advice" - I occasionally wiped my gloves off on the ends of those red cedar trees - the deer never touched them again! As for the tree trunks - never again did anything sink their buck teeth into them either!! After one or two more applications, over a 2 to 4 year period, in the "worst" areas (the expanding tree growth left some tempting "tar gaps"), I now have a 12 year old Redwood Forest.
And the 4 apple trees? - perfect! I've never heard mention of such a remedy, and came up with it out of sheer desperation, but I'd bet you'd be equally successful against that (those) rabbits :twisted: !

I've also concluded: my Orchard will never be "finished," seems something's always in need of replacing; but that's when I get to try my next idea!

Good growing!

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Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:48 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:24 pm
Posts: 126
Location: Puyallup, WA
Post apple tree in desperate need of saving
Glenna,

If you are near Chicago you might want to attend the Midwest Fruit Explorers grafting class. Check their website:
http://www.midfex.org/index.html

They'll have advice on what varieties do well in your climate and are better suited for the backyard orchardist instead of the more common commercial type varieties normally sold in local nurseries.


Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:34 pm
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