Start a new thread

1 to 17 of 17 replies

This Spring we have lost a pear tree and a hawthorn tree that has been a bit sick since we first planted it 5 years ago - on the suppliers advice we tried moving it but that did not work.  Now another of the trees planted at that time appears to be dying - the blossom has died on the tree before it managed to flower but so far the last of the three looks really healthy.  The fruit trees seem to have developed a canker but the hawthorns were not affected by it. Have treated all trees affected by the canker and so far they appear to be fruiting okay. The laurel and another tree seem to be dropping their leaves as though it is autumn.  Lack of water or feeding has been suggested, but we take care of that.  The local suppliers do not seem to have a clue.


laurels drop leaves all summer, probably not a disease unless the growing tips are affected.

Oh gosh - this does not sound good!  The garden is full of cotoneasters, berberis and pyracanthus.  The picture on the web site you referred me to is just like our tree of no name (it was in the garden when we arrived and no one could tell us what it is).  Thank you for the reassurance for the laurel - though next door's tree (which intrudes massively onto our garden) show no sign of ill health at all.  We are obviously going to have to set a couple of days aside, asap, to try to sort this out.  How is it spread?  Will it just go through the garden?  Sorry to ask so many questions, but I am completely floored.

I have looked at the pictures of fireblight and this is exactly what is happening to all out trees in our new little orchard - perhaps the hawthorn tree that we moved to nearer the fruit (on  the advice of the grower) was diseased and that was why it was failing - and in moving it perhaps we have put it too near to the other trees and thus they have all got infected.   Whatever, practically all the trees in that area are showing the same symptoms so - can anyone give me some advice.  I  have read all the bumph about it but it is a bit like ploughing through treacle to a fruit tree novice -  though the apple tree most badly affect seems to b e fruiting, the leaves are beginning to curl - are we best off just cutting our losses and getting rid of all the damaged trees and starting again - or now that it is in the garden will it just spread.  We have loads of roses, an ash tree that we planted three years ago and a part of the garden that was already planted with cotoneasters before we arrived.  Should we get rid of the 20'tall pyracantha which is shedding its leaves as if it were winter before it can do any more damage?  We do not know enough about this and do not know where we can go to get advice.  Obviously we do not want the good trees to be infected - b ut can we then replant this year without risk of anything else being got at?  The apple tree that is really badly affected has got cankers all over the place but on the base of the trunk there is a big one that almost completely rings the tree.


Lion S

The best thing to do would be to contact a good tree surgeon so he/she can establish how many of the trees are infected, but they can be expensive. You can look for a local tree specialist at www.

Normally the infected bits are pruned and the prunings will be have to be removed from the site or burnt. Pruning tools should be desinfected immediately afterwards.

I wouldn't take the Pyracantha out just yet; I have one myself that shows all the symptoms every year but only in spring. During summer it normally picks up again. Roses and Ash are generally not infected. The Cotoneasters we have in our garden also have symptoms: there are a number of twigs that die back but that seems controlable by cutting them out as soon as I notice them. It's the fruit trees that are most often infected. I know that I would be inclined to remove the apple tree because of the large cankers on the trunk base.

I really wish I had some better news. It's so sad to loose established trees. Good luck Lulubella!

Thank you Flowerchild.  The apple tree that is badly damaged is the very first tree that we planted when we starrted the garden - it is so pretty, as well - such a lovely shape reminiscent of my chilldhood.  The second hawthorn that seems to have had it has definitely faded quite quickly - at the beginning of the month it looked quite green andhealthy - it was only when I got closer to see why it had not blossomed that I saw the state of it.  We have two other apple trees in that part of the gsrden, two plum and a cherry - as I said in an earlier post, we had to remove the pear tree, which seemed to be sickening last year.   At least, even though it is going to be expensive if we have to replace them all, they are not 100 year old trees, which we had in a previous orchard.That would have been just soul destroying.

We cannot just take out the affected bits because they are on the main trunk, below flowering branch level but our other concern is that it might be something in the garden or the soil which is causing the problem.

Lion S

I actually don't think it's in your soil. This bacterial disease is transmitted by rain, wind, birds and insects so "it's in the air", and can infect trees even through the stomata. We've had some very wet seasons and so, unfortunately the circumstances have been ideal for the disease to spread that quickly.

Please, do contact a tree specialist if you can or look for a knowledgeable fruit tree grower. They will be able to tell you if your trees can be saved and what precautions to take now and in the future. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

Yes thank you - I looked at that this am and tried to ring them but no answer!  Have been iut in the garden again this pm and noticed tht the hawthorn is very sick - when I pushed at it it rocked on its roots - I had noticed what looked like damage right at the bottom of the trunk where it comes up out of the ground.I think if I had pushed really hard it might have come up out of the ground a bit - and yet it seems like it was brilliant only last week with lots of lovely blossom forming.  Over the weekend other half will have to chop it down, dig it out, and try to get it burned.  We have a friend who is always collecting wood for his wood burning stove, so he might be able to help out - he has a chipper so might be able at least to get it down to manageable pieces for us.  I am just amazed at how quickly it has gone.


Fireblight shouldn't be affecting the bottom of the main trunk unless it is an extremely young tree.  Damage at that level sounds like Honey Fungus - check for black root-like growths just beneath the bark at ground level.  It's entirely possible you have both and the Honey fungus is weakening the trees in that area, allowing fireblight to quickly take hold.  Get an expert to look at them is my advice.

Yes Bob - I noticed today that there are root like growths actually on the surface of the soil - we put the trees in about six years ago - they were the first we planted when we moved here and got the garden going but they were not very small saplings - probably about 12' tall at that time.  I guess we are going to just have to grit our teeth and call someone in, less we lose all of them but thanks for the tip.

Good morning Bob - getting obsessed with the situation now - but when I went out to put the bird food out, I looked at the tree and moved some of the soil- seems to be okay, and the roots on top of the soil were from a fruit tree, but I did notice this am that there were slugs of all things climbing the bark at the bottom of the tree and apparently feeding!  We did have on hawthorn which never really flourished, and all out problems seem to have started when we followed a grower's advice and moved it to a different place in the garden.  We had hoped not togo to the expense of hiring an expert, but it looks like we have no choice.


Hi Lulubella,  You may be lucky enough to have some kind of gardening club in your area - worth a google.  There are often very experienced folk at these and many will be happy to be paid with a cup of tea and bit of cake!

Thanks for the tip Bob - got a guy from the local gardening association coming around tomorrow pm - if he can help I willl let you know what he says.


Well, Bob - so much for the guy from the local gardeners association - I knew more than he did, I think!  he noticed that the laurel tree trunk was black and thought that that also was diseased - but that trunk is always a much darker brown than anything else in the garden and is rock solid - it has always had a split trunk as long as we have been here, and is still growing strongly.  (It was just a huge shrub, but we took a tip from Highgrove and chopped all the lower branches off to make said shrub into a tree).  He brought the Gardening Expert book on Pests and came to the conclusion that the problem was somesthing whose name I cannot remember except that it began with a P - but the description was nothing like what we have got.  Husband chopped half the hawthorn tree down and will dig the remaining trunk and  root out tonight so that at least if it is the honey fungus we are removing the host.  When we had the tree onthe ground, chopping it up for disposal, some of the leaves looked fine but most of it looked complely dead - as if it had been poisoned.  We do know that the people who cut the field at the side of our garden put weed killer down the edges where it abuts to us, for ease of cutting, and we cannot help but wonder if some of it has affected our tree - but then, would it not have affected all the blackberries that we have climging up the same fence, but in a different part of the garden?  We also but up to a a woodland area which belongs to a Govt Dept and cannot be touched, so we also wonder if something has eaten the roots where they might have spread into this area.  I guess we are just going to have to bite the bullet and call in the experts but, in the meantime, when we have got all the root out we will spray the soil liberally with Armilladox (I think thats what it is called) to sterilise it.  Said man had not a clue about the apple tree, but it is still fruting nicely so we will hang fire for a while with that and see if it recovers.  Watch this space!

started as a new topic

Sign up or log in to post a reply