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New York: Alarming number of apple trees dying

Staff Writer |
Apple growers and specialists in many states are seeing an alarming increase in the numbers of -mostly young- orchards, where trees are declining or dying.

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The phenomenon is called Sudden Apple Decline (SAD) as affected trees seem to decline very rapidly. Experts at Cornell University and its extension specialists are working on finding the cause to save trees.

Mpnnow reported on Tess Grasswitz, integrated pest management specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, saying: “ Apple growers are being surveyed to provide insight into what is going on. Responses are just beginning to come back.”

Sudden Apple Decline seems most common in dense orchards, but other than that, not much else is known. “It’s a concern,” said Grasswitz. Possible causes being explored include: blight; injury from herbicides; harm from boring insects; winter injury; drought stress; various tree diseases; pathogens and apple viruses.

The phenomenon will be addressed at the 2018 Empire State Producers Expo in Syracuse. The trade show and educational conference is for producers in New York state as well as neighbouring states and eastern Canada.

This fall, forecasters estimated a crop of 28 million bushels of apples in New York. The projected 2017 crop of 1.1 billion pounds is about average size for the state. Grasswitz couldn’t say what if any effect SAD might have on future apple crops.

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