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Crab apple scab management (zone 7a, Fairfield County, CT)

4 months ago
last modified: 4 months ago

I have two mature crabapples that provide valuable screening and shade for a patio area. They've dealt with what I believe is apple scab each of the three years I've lived here. This year, it seems worse than ever, with the trees dropping a significant amount of leaves already, something that in prior years has not happened until mid or late summer.

Based on my prior research, I try to spray the trees several times in the early leaf-tip and budding stages. I say "try" because it really is difficult - it's cold enough here (Fairfield County, CT, zone 7a) in early March that we're at risk of a hard freeze, so I am reluctant to turn on my outside water. It rains frequently, which prevents spraying on those days. And, um, I also have a busy schedule that does not revolve entirely around tree spraying.

This year, I sprayed at least twice, maybe three times, during the appropriate times. Yet the scab seems worse than ever. I was really surprised, because the trees abundantly bloomed and fruited more than I'd seen in prior years.

What else, if anything, can I do to help these trees? They are in drip-irrigated beds that get annual applications of organic mulch and compost.

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