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The hole was much smaller before. It's getting bigger & more bark areas around it are cracking now. The hole & around areas are dry to the touch. Tree is 9 or 10 years old. It grows slower for it's much smaller than other trees, which are different types - a cherry and a crabapple, all similar size when planted years ago together.

Anyone has any idea about the causes, effect, and any solution that can stop it from getting worse?

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It looks like apple canker. See here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=63

If you have an attack as bad as your picture on the trunk of the tree, there is not much you can do. The only "cure" is to cut out all the affected wood but you can't cut away half the trunk, for obvious reasons.

If you have other apple trees, consider getting rid of that one to avoid cross infection. It will probably reduce the apple crop and eventually kill the tree in any case. As you said it is already slowing the growth rate, in the same way that stripping a ring of bark from half the circumference of the trunk would do.

I suppose you could completely remove the trunk below the canker and continue to grow the two side branches below it, but the shape of the tree would look a bit weird!

  • Thanks for your advice & it looks like you are right. Too bad it's the main trunk. Not sure what will happen to the tree if I have to cut the main trunk off some day. – Simon J Jun 28 at 23:38
  • Good idea, cut out the trunk now before it spreads. The younger the tree is when you make this cut the easier it is to create a new trunk using the lower branches. It will spread. With time it will spread to the whole tree. You may not have this option in the future if you stay the course. – GardenGems Nov 24 at 14:55

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