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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Apricot and Apple Tree Growing Poorly

Q. My apple and apricot trees have small leaves and not much new growth. The few dark green leaves are almost dead. I fertilized the plant in the prescribed periods and watered the plant as in previous years. The apple tree made flowers but few fruits. The apricot had lots of apricots and dropped some earlier but few green leaves.
Apricot tree sparse and not filling in properly. Having a tree with the canopy this open can lead to borer problems if it doesn't already have them.

Apple tree is sparse. The same thing applies to Apple trees. They need enough water and a big enough basin to water the roots, nutrients which we supply through rich compost or fertilizers, and a surface mulch which decomposes to enrich the soil.

A. Thanks for the pictures. I think the problems are a combination of water, fertilizer and soil. As you know, the trees should be thick and dense this time of year. They are not because, I think, they lack these three ingredients.


Your trees are about 8 to 10 feet tall and would need about 20 to 30 gallons of water every other day during the hot summer months. As trees get older and larger, they need more water. That works out to about 75 to 100 gallons each week.
            There is a basin at the bottom of the tree that is maybe 3 feet in diameter. Increase the size of that basin to about 6 feet in diameter or 3 feet from the trunk in all directions. That will accommodate more water and spread it about a foot beyond the basin.

Compost or fertilizer

            Spread about 1 cubic foot of good quality compost in the basin away from the trunk before you water it again. This compost should have a high nutrient content such as Viragrow’s. Many do not.
            After rebuilding the basin in a six-foot diameter around the tree and applying compost, fill the basin with a hose or sprinkler on the end of a hose. Fill the basin twice.


            Cover the soil in the basin with woodchips from local trees if you can find them. If you can’t find any, use straw 4 to 6 inches deep until you can find some woodchips.
            Increase the amount of water to the tree by covering that soil with about one – two inches of water flooding the basin. Water the tree three – four times per week using this basin and flooding technique. You should see new growth starting in about 7 to 10 days.

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