Pictured above is an ornamental apple tree outside of my home in Portsmouth, NH. Over the course of the summer I noticed that a section of the tree was not leafing and was totally bare. I don’t believe this is how it has been in the past, and I wanted to investigate what might have caused this and if I needed to provide any remedy to ensure the tree's health.

The tree is on the south side of the house and it gets plenty of sun. There is some sort of green moss type growth that I see on the area that is not leafing.

1 Answer 1


Judging by the look of it, I would say its a mixture of lack of good maintenance and cleanliness. I would remove all dead material and also open up the lower section of the tree to the air and light around it- this should improve the general health of the lower part of the tree. Next I would use a fungicide to spray the tree over the winter as it looks like you've got a bit of bacterial canker on the bark too, possibly something like mussel scale(lepidosaphes ulmi) too treat with a tar oil when dormant in winter. I also would suggest to try to dry out the site too as this can lead to a loss of bark too due to excessive moisture, remove the weeds as they can also carry stuff too and not to worry about the lichen (green mossy stuff) as its harmless and uncontrollable and its an indicator of how clean your air quality is locally. I'd also rake up all material dropped by this tree and burn it this season and compost it next. Just needs a bit of TLC.

  • Thanks for your answer. Can you expand on what you mean by “open up the lower parts”? I am unclear on how to do that. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 1:39
  • Its still not too late to do this, opening up is just a term of clearing out the mess- by opening an area, not only doing the job itself but also making the area more airy and open to light- easy to look after and less of a pain to get under physically, removing the mess and getting to a point of less clutter to look at- it should look more pleasing to the eye and be less messy. Prune out any complicated bits- as this can introduce infections with dead bits left in- simplify the way the lower branches look- remove the amount of open wounds, be ruthless and keep standing back,aim for a shape
    – olantigh
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 21:07

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