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Crab Apple Trees

Q.Can This Stressed Young Crabapple Be Saved??

Zone zone 6 | krystalmk added on June 4, 2021 | Answered

Hello —— About a month ago I had a crabapple tree planted professionally by our reputable local nursery. I was at work when the job was done so unfortunately I could not be on hand to ask questions. The tree should have been planted earlier, but I can understand how busy nurseries are in spring. Right after it was planted we had a hot, dry spell. However, I didn’t know that young transplanted trees of this size—about 6’—require a huge amount of water! Many years ago I planted a small crab tree by myself, and poured maybe 2-3 gallons of water on it every day or two. It did fine and has survived beautifully for 30+ years (although now it looks about ready to die). I didn’t realize that 2-3 gallons of water every day or two would make NO difference whatsoever to a larger tree. And I was not advised beforehand about this by the nursery. I didn’t ask and they didn’t tell. ——- So now, at the eleventh hour so to speak, I got the news that I’ve been handling the situation all wrong. I started running hose water on the tree almost every evening, very slow, for several hours. I’ve looked up information on how to care for stressed young trees, but have not found much advice besides “give at least 1 inch of water once a week.” That sounds like too little, too late. —— The poor tree does look quite stressed to me. But to tell the truth, it looked the same as it does now when it was first planted! I don’t think there are dead parts on it, nothing snaps off when I try bending twigs. I’m showing some photos to give an idea of its sad condition. I’m worried about this. Is there anything else I can do to help it? If it dies I might not be able to get a refund because they might say I was guilty of negligence. But, I’m no expert… I suspect this tree was having issues while it was still at the nursery. Any advice? Is there hope for this tree? I trust the pix uploaded, if not, I will try again. Thank you

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 7, 2021

It is, certainly, not dead. It isn't happy, though.

This does not look like underwatering. In fact, it looks like infected soil. If I am not mistaken, it looks like I see spots in the lawn, too!

At this point, you want to spend the rest of the year treating the tree, and caring for it, perfectly.

Here are a few articles that will help:



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