Canker on the trunk of an apricot tree in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard. Should we cut it down? Or cut it out?

Canker on the trunk of an apricot tree in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard. Should we cut it down? Or cut it out?

Canker comes in many forms on fruit trees. It can look like a hard crusty patch. Or it can be an oozing wound. It can look like a deep hole in your tree. Sometimes canker is bacterial. Sometimes it is fungal. No matter what, it is never good news.

Recently we found canker on the trunk of one of our most beautiful and productive apricot trees. We monitor our trees regularly. It’s amazing how quickly such a big gaping hole can appear. The question is…what to do?

If you leave canker in the tree it can eventually spread and kill the tree. Even worse, the disease can spread to other trees near by. If it was on a branch, the solution would be easy: cut it off and carefully dispose of it in a sealed garbage bag in the garbage so it does not continue to spread.

But in our tree the canker is in the trunk. You can’t cut it off without cutting down the whole tree. So we have a decision to make. Do we cut out the canker? Or do we remove the tree.

For about a week now I have been vacillating. One day I’m sure we need to dispose of the tree. The next I think we can save it. In a fantastic group on Linked In called “Trees” I asked for the advice of arborists, foresters and tree lovers of all stripes and have a range of fantastic responses. Even the experts are divided on what approach to take.

One heartening response came from Guy Meilleur, Aerial Consultant at Historic Tree Care, who analyzed the picture for me. Click here to see his analysis. In the next few days we shall make our decision and of course it will be well documented on www.orchardpeople.com’s Beginner Fruit Tree Care Workshop series.

One interesting thought. If we do decide to surgically remove the canker and keep the tree, we will want to remove all baby fruit for this year to allow the tree to use all it’s energy to heal. Makes total sense to me. I know as an orchardist you need to be detached…but I hope we can save the tree.

What would you do?