Ask a Question forum: Apple tree issue

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May 29, 2016 10:08 AM CST
I planted 3 apple trees in a row last year, gala then honey crisp then gala. A deer came through over winter and rubbed one gala and knocked it down (honestly I did t think that one would make it anyways), then moved on to the honey crisp and gave it a good rub removing some of the bark. Now that leaves are starting to form, it appears that from the rub up, there are no leaves on the honey crisp but towards the ground leaves and branches are growing abundant. I broke off a twig from the upper part of the tree and it appears there is some green in the twig but I'm wondering if the upper is pretty much dead. If so, if I top it, will the rest grow taller or is the whole thing pretty much a lost cause? Our soil is great, I don't know if that makes a difference. I can use any suggestions as I know my vegetables but have limited experience with trees. I have attached a couple pictures for reference. Thank you in advance for your help!
Thumb of 2016-05-29/Quickdrymarker/bbf7a6
Thumb of 2016-05-29/Quickdrymarker/fc4ded

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have 1.5 friends left on NGA.
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May 29, 2016 10:23 AM CST
Most fruit trees are grafted to a strong root stock. In the second photo it looks like the fresh new growth may be coming from the root stock plant and will not be the same as the tree you planted.

When you plant trees in an area where deer are present you will need to surround each tree with wire fencing to protect it.

Hope this helps.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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May 29, 2016 11:29 AM CST
I agree as greene said, that leafy growth at the base is most likely from the rootstock. You should prune it all off.

I would wait a few more weeks, and see what sprouts from the tops of the trees. Definitely do not cut anything off unless you're sure it's dead wood (except the rootstock suckers) though. Those little trees are going to need all the leaves they can muster to get going this spring.

A better way to find out if the tree is still alive, rather than breaking off a twig is to just scrape the bark in a tiny area with your fingernail. IF there is green under the bark the branch is still alive.

As soon as you see new leaves open, give them a light sprinkle of fertilizer, and make sure they don't get too dried out.

Btw, would you please complete your personal profile to add your location? Knowing where you are makes it a lot easier to answer questions in future. The personal profile icon is the little person at the top of the blue sidebar on the left.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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May 29, 2016 4:56 PM CST
Welcome! My mom had an apple tree that our large dog mowed over as a sapling like yours. The resultant root stock apples were the absolutely most delicious apples ever! Doesn't really matter where you are at - if you have deer problems you will likely have to put your young trees in jail (wire fence) until they are large enough to be beyond the nibble range of your deer. Not a particularly good look, but temporary.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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