The Q&A Archives: Spots on New Crabapple Bark

Question: I recently purchased a crabapple which is about 8-10 years old (I think. The trunck is about 3-4 inches in diameter). The bark is peeling and there are spots on the trunk and branches. These spots are light blue-gray in color and appear to be superficial. I can wipe some of the substance off since it is powdery. If I scape with my finger I can remove some of the spot but I go down to the material under the bark. I questioned the nursery about these spots and was told it was nothing to worry about. The tree came up from the south and this is common. Should I be worried? Is the tree healthy? Is there something I should be doing to clear this condition up? Or should I return the tree and get my money back? Thanks for your help.

Answer: I honestly don't know what it may be - lichen or moss, perhaps? I suggest that you again contact the nursery from which you purchased the tree and ask for more specific information; while it may be "nothing to worry about", it would still be helpful to know what it is! In any case, take photos to document the situation. Usually nurseries offer a 1-yr guarantee on their wares, so if you find that the tree declines despite your following their instructions for planting and care, you have that to fall back on. I also believe it's wise to try and find plant material that is locally grown or offered by a reputable company, and is willing to answer your questions. Good luck!

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