Apple Tree Diseases and Scabs

Written by nancy wagner
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Apple Tree Diseases and Scabs
Several diseases can harm apple trees. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Apple scab is one of several diseases that can plague apple trees. These diseases can attack an apple tree, causing it to lose its leaves and weakening the tree as a whole. To control diseases, first identify the problem, then implement a consistent plan to control the problem.


Scab is a fungal disease that attacks new leaves in the spring. The disease is most likely to occur in moist conditions. Heavily infected trees may lose their leaves prematurely, becoming completely defoliated by early summer. The disease next moves to the fruit, where it causes dark, leathery spots to appear.

Other Diseases

Other diseases that affect apple trees include rust and fireblight. Fireblight is a deadly disease that kills new shoots in late spring or early summer. The disease also attacks older tissue, causing an orange gum to ooze from the damaged parts. Rust creates orange-yellow spots on the leaves.


Scab, rust and fireblight can both be controlled by removing the affected trees and replacing them with less-susceptible types. Collect and discard any branches or fruit from damaged trees. Spraying fungicides on the affected tree's leaves, stems and fruit may also help prevent the diseases.

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