What is responsible for the damage to my apple tree leaves, the tissue has been eaten away, leaving a skeleton of leaf veins?

A small caterpillar known as an apple leaf skeletoniser feeds on the upper leaf surface, causing the damage you describe.

Spray with a suitable insecticide at first signs of damage.


My apples are regularly attacked by wasps, what would you advise me to do, to stop these attacks?

You could try and trap the wasps by hanging up a proprietary wasp trap in the tree, or even a home-made one containing jam diluted with water.

This then would hopefully, attract the wasps away from the apples.


Several of my apples have scars on the skins, what might have caused this?

The scars were made by larvae of the apple sawfly.

After feeding inside a fruitlet, the larva eats its way out, then feeds around the surface of another fruit.

It then sometimes bores into the flesh, in which case the damaged apple would fall well before harvest time, but in other instances, the larva will feed on the outside of a few apples before boring in. 

It's this surface feeding that results in the scarring you have found.


I have had quite a severe attack of mildew on my apple trees, what would you advise?

Spray a few times at 14-day intervals with a suitable fungicide or supercarb.

If practical, cut out the worst affected shoots before spraying.

Repeat again in spring, cutting out all affected blossom and leaf clusters.


The leaves on my little apple tree are being mined by something, and several leaves are now turning brown and falling off, what is causing this please?

Apple leaf miner.

An adult moth lays its eggs on the new leaves in April, and the resulting larvae feed between the leaf surfaces, creating winding mines.

Where the mines complete a circle the central tissue will turn brown and die.

There are three generations of the insect each year.

After feeding for a month the caterpillars pupate in hammock-like cocoons on the leaf surface and new adults appear two weeks later.

Control is difficult due to the caterpillars being inside the leaves.

Use a suitable insecticide in June, August and October to catch each new emergence of adult moths, thus reducing the egg laying potential.


My apples have been covered with small, dark brown, scabby blotches! what caused this?

Apple scab is responsible for disfiguring fruits in this manner and for brown/olive green spots on leaves.

The damage to the fruits is superficial and does not affect the apple's eating or storing qualities.

However, significant leaf fall may occur resulting in loss of vigour and reduction in yield in future years.

Control the disease by raking up and burning fallen leaves and by pruning out affected shoots.

Pruning to retain an open tree shape also improves air circulation around the foliage, reducing humidity and so discouraging scab development.

Using a fungicidal sprays during the growing season can be an effective method of control.

The number of sprays necessary will vary from year to year according to the amount of disease present.


Several shoots on my apple tree have died back, this started just after flowering, what action is needed?

Apple Blossom wilt disease is the cause.

Cut out the affected shoots, ensure you cut them well back, as the disease can be a little way into the shoot.

A chemical wash, applied in winter can have a beneficial effect against blossom wilt, and/or a fungicide spray as the flowers start to open.


My apple trees have had an attack of what I believe to be woolly aphid, what is the best way of controlling this please?

With large, old trees there is not a lot that can be done, unless you are able to climb into the tree and spray the colonies with an insecticide.

On younger trees the pest can be doubly damaging, as the tissue invaded by woolly aphid is frequently the site for subsequent apple canker attack.


When pruning our apple trees,I have found what I presume to be bands of eggs around the stems of young shoots.

Can you identify please?

The bands are indeed made up of masses of eggs that were laid by the female lackey moth.

If left on the tree the eggs will hatch in April / May into multi-coloured striped caterpillars which will feed on the young emerging leaves.

If not removed, a great deal of damage may be caused, even to the point of completely defoliating the tree.

Prune out all the egg bands.

In the event you miss some, and you find tents of caterpillars in spring, then prune these out too.


Many of the leaves on my apple trees are tattered and distorted, have you any idea what is causing this and is there a


Sounds like Capsid bug damage.

These are sucking insects and both adults and nymphs feed on the sap of young growths, injecting a toxic saliva that kills plant tissues.

Capsid bugs move rapidly and have usually left the damaged plants long before the symptoms are apparent.

It is difficult to prevent damage, but spraying in the winter with suitable spray may kill overwintering eggs.

Summer infestations can be reduced by frequently spraying with a sutitable insecticide.

Some capsids overwinter in plant debris, and in leaf-litter in hedge bottoms, so good garden hygiene, and removal of such

debris, reduces the numbers being carried over into the next season.


I would like to grow a Bramley's Seedling apple tree in my small garden.I am wondering whether there is a dwarf

variety of this apple?

There are several dwarf rootstocks e.g. M27 and M9 making it possible to have a small tree of a Bramley Seedling.

It is important that trees on these dwarfing rootstocks are planted out in good soil and those on M9 rootstock should be given the additional support of stout stakes.


How do I cure canker on my apple trees?

During the winter, prune out all the damaged shoots you can find and burn them.

On larger branches, brush any cankers thoroughly with a wire brush and then leave to heal.


I would be grateful for advice on pruning a 3.5metre (12ft) high Bramley seedling apple tree,and how to reduce it in height to say 2.5 metres (8ft)

When reducing the length of any main branch, always, cut back to another vigorous branch.

This branch should be ideally, not less than one third the diameter of the cut off limb.

When removing branches, try and maintain a balanced shape to the tree and avoid creating a lop-sided effect.

If there is a lot of wood to be removed, spread the operation over three years.

Pruning should be done in the dormant period.


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