Bad apples

Close up of lesions Close up

Close up stem side Stem disease

I've had this Apple tree for a couple of decades which I had always assumed it was wild since it had always produced sour small apples.

For some years the skin has had these blemishes which extend a little way into the pulp. I never worried too much since I rarely ate the fruit, and if i did it was cooked first. But now to my surprise i am getting some decent sized fruit which for the first time actually tastes sweet. But the fruit is a bit inaccessible since the tree is now two storeys high, and tucked into a poorly accessible area shaded by a tall rhododendron.

So, I'm wondering if this is a fungal disease that I can treat easily noting poor access. It doesn't seem to match the description for bitter pit disease.

Edit: I just realized that I had brought another apple tree onto the property this year, though in a container. Perhaps the pollen from this one caused the fruit on the older one to improve?

1 Answer 1


Probably Apple Scab, which is an issue where you are, as it is in many parts of the world. It's caused by a fungus, and it affects the twigs behind the fruits and often the leaves too. Some info in the link below, but it looks as if you'll need to spray with a copper solution to get some kind of control. How easy that will be in a large tree, I leave you to work out...


and extra info here, though it also covers other problems with apples and doesn't recommend any chemical treatments, since its an organics only site


Re the pollen from one improving the other, that's very unlikely to happen - the pollination process just means you get fruit, it doesn't change the variety of fruit you get. It's more likely the nicer apples are explained simply because the tree , somehow, is or has been getting more water at the right time and possibly more sun to encourage swelling, sweetening and ripening.

  • I'd guess it grew tall enough to get some decent sun, so it could make some decent fruit. Poor air movement encourages fungus, so the location of the tree is probably contributing. Removing the tall rhododendron would be the apple-centric approach. Scab can simply be removed when using the apple (it's bad for commercial growers, merely an annoyance for home growers that are not trying to sell the fruit.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:01

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