How do I treat a diseased apple tree?
Jim, you may have two things going on with your tree. First, usually apple trees are alternate bearers, as was indicated in the past. The fact that it bore, atypically, every year recently could indicate that it is under stress and is trying to reproduce itself quick before it expires, which sometimes happens in nature. But maybe it isn't under stress and just needs a year to take a breather! Therefore it might have pollinated but didn't feel it could support the apples. Another reason could be that the tree has borers and didn't have enough nutrition to support the apples. Check for oozing on the trunk. If this is the case, dig into the holes, see if there might be a little caterpiller in there, and in any event, spray with general insectide (while wearing gloves and mask) and plug up the hole with something to keep the insecticide in there. You could also give the tree a light feeding of 5-10-5 in the early spring (Not now...might encourage new growth soon that will be killed by the winter.) The leaf problem is probably some kind of fungal issue. A good source for the type is to google: apple tree diseases and click on gallery of plant diseases from West Virginia U. The very damp weather in the spring often contributes to these diseases. There is no treatment now except to be sure you pick up the dead or fallen leaves as soon as they fall. In the spring you can send a sample of the leaf problem if you see it again, to Penn State. Contact us again for the address. (Free diagnosis). If you spray for apple fungus it is an intensive program.