Is my crabapple tree dead? It is, isn't it?

SPedigrees

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Thus far the only damages I've suffered from this rainy summer have been a temporary untamed jungle growth of weeds, but now I think I am going to lose the crabapple tree in my front yard. In this picture, the leafless tree at the far left is the tree in question. The healthy tree at the far right (foreground) in the photo is what my dying tree should look like this time of the year. Granted these two trees are different types of crabapples with differing demeanors (the dying one is a 'profusion' with a semi weeping structure while the 'prairiefire' has a more upright stance) but the two have always bloomed at the same time and developed their bronze fall foliage simultaneously each autumn. The defoliated tree is in a wet area, and apple trees seem to do well in moist areas, but I think the super-saturated soil this year finally drowned my poor 'profusion' tree. Does anyone think it could come back, or is this the end of the line for my tree?
DeadAndLivingCrabappleTrees29Sep2023.JPG

This is sad since I planted it as a sapling when we built a new addition, new porch, new foundation, etc. onto our house. It was sort of like a housewarming gift to a (partially) new house. It really was pretty back in the day, but I fear it was in the wrong place at the wrong time this summer. (These two photos are from 2020, a few years ago.)
CrabapplesInSpring2020.jpg


CrabappleProfusion2020.JPG
 

flowerbug

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i have never heard apple or crab apple trees being particularly tolerant of damp areas. instead i've heard that they are more like any other tree that needs enough moisture but not too much. so based upon that i'd say it may have certainly got drowned out for the season. can it recover? next spring should give you some idea if it will grow or should be replaced. of course if you replace it you'd want to put the new tree in a less soggy location.
 

SPedigrees

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i have never heard apple or crab apple trees being particularly tolerant of damp areas. instead i've heard that they are more like any other tree that needs enough moisture but not too much.
Researching it, I see you are right, flowerbug. I guess I'd just made this (wrong) assumption based on the fact that most of my existing wild/feral apples are thriving in places which tend to be very soggy in the spring of each year. I guess it is more that they are able to tolerate temporary wetness than that they actually like it. But this year that particular area never dried out, so I'm guessing my tree is literally "dead in the water."

In the center of that upper photo in between the two crabapple trees, you can see how the pussywillow bushes I planted a few years ago are thriving. (The weeping willow behind/above them belongs to neighbor across the road.) So I think I won't be replacing the drowned tree, but will allow the willow bushes to replace it. These willows are in seventh heaven in this spot and should more than double in height as they grow. I have two seedling trees (a white cedar and a river birch) planted around the same time-frame in amongst the willows that may grow up to become visible as well. Time will tell I guess. So providing our climate doesn't suddenly dry up, the remaining trees and shrubs in this spot should be more suited to the conditions.

I'm toying with the idea of leaving the skeletal remains of my crabapple tree standing for awhile since it is a perch and sometimes nesting site for many birds who will miss this tree, and I will miss them. Of course if the tree should spring back to life this spring, this contingency plan can be scrapped. But I'm not getting my hopes up.
 

ducks4you

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Probably dead. So is one/two of my Mortmorency Tart Cherry Trees. Dunno why, maybe I planted it too deep, but it will be coming down this Fall/Winter. Mine only partially leafed out, while the other one, one year younger, produces so much fruit I can't keep up with it. Pollination seems to NOT be a problem.
It could be that it's roots cannot compete with it's neighbor's roots.
Lots of reasons, but these fruit trees slowly die...for, (as MY family often says,) "reasons."
THEN, we have my old red? apple tree. Limbs have been dying, I have cut them off, small limbs have tried to take over, didn't have the heart to cut it down last year.
THIS year I have gotten lovely and big and juicy apples from it.
Just.doesn't.want.to.die.
Go figure.
If you don't burn wood, give what you chop down to somebody that does. They may use crabapple chips for grilling.
Next year, plant a new one, but not in the same spot and not as close. :hugs:hugs:hugs
 

ducks4you

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WARNING: Don't buy bareroot UNLESS you plan to devote 1/2 of the same day it is shipped getting it into the ground.
I have ordered bareroot twice, and twice I have lost trees.
THIS year I ordered two peach trees.
One died quick, the other came back. It is in a large pot, awaiting next week when I will transplant, put a tomato cage around it and tie milk jugs with fork holes on the bottom to drip irrigate.
Funny, the peach tree that lived has a sucker that has grown up at the base that will need to be pruned off.
THAT made me laugh!
 

SPedigrees

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WARNING: Don't buy bareroot UNLESS you plan to devote 1/2 of the same day it is shipped getting it into the ground.
I have ordered bareroot twice, and twice I have lost trees.
Most of my trees came to me as bareroot stock, because that is the most expedient way for online nurseries to ship, but you are right, they need to be planted as soon as possible, that very day being best. And they need constant watering for the first month.

My tree planting days are behind me at this point. We pretty much finished our re-forestation efforts during my husband's final year, and watering and caring for new trees would be too difficult for me alone. I have quite a few other apples and crabapples we planted in various spots on the property, as well as spruce, maple, and birch. Some of the apples we planted, while others sprang up on their own. The nice thing about the Northeast is that land left to its own devices will return to forest, but our efforts have given it a head start. It's sad to lose this particular tree though.
Lots of reasons, but these fruit trees slowly die...for, (as MY family often says,) "reasons."
THEN, we have my old red? apple tree. Limbs have been dying, I have cut them off, small limbs have tried to take over, didn't have the heart to cut it down last year.
THIS year I have gotten lovely and big and juicy apples from it.
It's true, trees live in a mostly hidden universe from us. Their reasons are their own, but they can surprise us with their resilience, as yours did. Some of my apple trees have survived things that should have killed them, rabbits and horses chewing their bark and branches. You just never know!
 

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Oh no, that's tough to see. 😢 It's heartbreaking when a tree you've watched grow faces trouble. Maybe try some deep watering and cross your fingers for a late comeback? 🌳🤞
 

Crealcritter

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Hi there SPedigrees

This may not be anything you done wrong. The pictured flowering crab apple tree looks to be healthy in 2020 and is of good size. So I would say it was happy and didn't drown where you planted it.

However generally speaking non grafted crab apples are short liveed 10 to 15 years and they die back. But they do root sucker profusely. Keep an eye out this spring for sprouting root suckers.

Since it's a crab apple it's most likely not grafted, and is most likely on its own roots (commonly called a root cutting). Select a root sucker to grow into a new tree. I would leave it in place to grow into a new tree. You can dig and transplant the other suckers or cut them off at ground level if you don't want any more crab apple trees.

Just keep in mind apples, flower on spurs that occur on two year and older wood. So it will be atleast two years before your new root sucker flowering crab apple flowers.

Jesus is Lord and Christ ✝️
 
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