The Q&A Archives: Holes on the trunk of my crabapple tree.

Question: I have what I think is a crab apple tree in my back yard. Last summer it was very leafy and beautiful. This spring it flowered beautifully also. This summer the leaves have fallen off, either turned yellow or black. The fruit is small, blackish in color, and hard. What really worries me is all the way up the main trunk are small holes in a perfect rings around the trunk, that go all the way up, some of the bigger branches have them also. What kind of bug could of done this? Is the tree dying? Is there anything I can do?

Answer: Based on your description I suspect there are several things happening. The holes are probably caused by a bird rather than an insect, although the bird is probably drilling in pursuit if an insect. The fruit is probably being infected by a disease. Crabapples are often afflicted with the same diseases that affect orchard apple trees and often require a routine spray regimen to control them. Unfortunately, the preventive spraying usually needs to be done in winter and early spring so there may not be much you can do this year. You might wish to contact your County Extension (374-8400) for help in actually confirming the type of tree you have and identifying the pest problems. They should also be able to give you the most up to date control measures as well as the spray timing schedule for crabapples in your area. Good luck with your tree!

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