Apple Blossom Wilt and Wither Tip

Question ...

My apple tree has bunches of dying leaves, interspersed with leaves that are completely normal. The dying tufts of leaves are mostly on the spurs, the terminal buds are generally fine. The blossom on these spurs are also browned and wilted. Is my apple tree dying?

Answer ...

Your apple tree is suffering from a fungal disease known as blossom wilt and wither tip. This condition causes the blossom, leaves and shoot/spur tips to wither. Later in the season the fungus will cause the fruits to shrivel. It can also lead to Brown Rot, an airborne fungal disease that attacks damaged fruits. Unfortunately, once the symptoms are present there is little that can be done. The best way to reduce the effects of the disease in subsequent years is to prune out any affected twigs and remove any diseased or damaged fruit from the tree. Also, because the fungus over-winters in the bark of twigs and in fruits infected in the previous year, remove any affected debris that has fallen from the tree, including any shrivelled fruits. This should reduce infection next year.

Do not store any affected fruit and do not pull any stalks from fruit you are intending to put into storage.

If you would like further advice on your organic growing, why not become a member of Garden Organic? It costs as little as £2.75 a month, and not only gives you full access to our advisory service, but also free or discounted entrance to many gardens across the UK. Call 02476 308210 or email