Possible for entire top half of tree to be dead?


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Hello, and thanks for reading! :D

So I just purchased an Apple tree (Yay!), but I have some worries.

It seems that the entire tree is dead except for the bottom half of the main trunk. Maybe about 11 inches worth? When purchasing, I thought, "maybe it's dormant". It has no live leaves. After doing the scratch test on most of the branches, as well as breaking a few, they were all pretty much brown / woody. However, the bottom of the base trunk when scratched, is clearly very green.

There are two shoots coming from the ground as well. Could the trunk of the main shoot be living off the two other shoots? Is it possible that the main shoot is still alive even if brown?
 
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Hello, and thanks for reading! :D

So I just purchased an Apple tree (Yay!), but I have some worries.

It seems that the entire tree is dead except for the bottom half of the main trunk. Maybe about 11 inches worth? When purchasing, I thought, "maybe it's dormant". It has no live leaves. After doing the scratch test on most of the branches, as well as breaking a few, they were all pretty much brown / woody. However, the bottom of the base trunk when scratched, is clearly very green.

There are two shoots coming from the ground as well. Could the trunk of the main shoot be living off the two other shoots? Is it possible that the main shoot is still alive even if brown?
If it is brown it is dead. FWIW there have been millions of dollars spent in central Texas trying to grow apples. Wrong soil, wrong climate, wrong everything. They had minor success in Medina Tx for about 5 years on a small hybrid apple but it ended up a lost cause. They couldn't keep the trees alive. Anyway, what you are seeing are shoots coming up from the root stock. Apple trees are all grafted. The dead part is the grafted part. There is no telling what the root stock was/is.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/apples.pdf
 
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If it is brown it is dead. FWIW there have been millions of dollars spent in central Texas trying to grow apples. Wrong soil, wrong climate, wrong everything. They had minor success in Medina Tx for about 5 years on a small hybrid apple but it ended up a lost cause. They couldn't keep the trees alive. Anyway, what you are seeing are shoots coming up from the root stock. Apple trees are all grafted. The dead part is the grafted part. There is no telling what the root stock was/is.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/apples.pdf
Thanks chuck! You are always helpful!

So that I am not wasting more money, you have any suggestions on what fruit trees will actually grow well here in texas? It seems like most trees require so many chill hours, and I am not sure that we have enough to really get a large crop at any point.
 
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Thanks chuck! You are always helpful!

So that I am not wasting more money, you have any suggestions on what fruit trees will actually grow well here in texas? It seems like most trees require so many chill hours, and I am not sure that we have enough to really get a large crop at any point.
Peaches, plums and figs do really well here if you get the correct varieties. It isn't so much the chill hours, we have plenty, but the makeup of the soil and its alkalinity that limit what can be grown.
 
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Peaches, plums and figs do really well here if you get the correct varieties. It isn't so much the chill hours, we have plenty, but the makeup of the soil and its alkalinity that limit what can be grown.

Well, wouldn't that issue be solved by just purchasing the proper soil and keeping them in large pots or raise bed?
Additionally, will the buds from the bottom lower half of this tree grow since it's still green around?

Sorry for asking so many questions I feel like I'm bugging!
 
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Well, wouldn't that issue be solved by just purchasing the proper soil and keeping them in large pots or raise bed?
Additionally, will the buds from the bottom lower half of this tree grow since it's still green around?

Sorry for asking so many questions I feel like I'm bugging!
Sure, people do it all the time. Take blueberries for instance. They require acidic soil so folks here plant them in peatmoss. Same thing with magnolia trees. But it is labor and economically intensive and in the end will ultimately fail. It is always best to grow what will naturally grow in your area instead of trying to outwit Mother Nature. Folks have been trying forever and have not succeeded
Your apple rootstock will continue to grow, that is until cotton root rot kills it, but even if by some miracle it did survive long enough to fruit, it can't.
http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/ecogardening/appleroot.html
 
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Sure, people do it all the time. Take blueberries for instance. They require acidic soil so folks here plant them in peatmoss. Same thing with magnolia trees. But it is labor and economically intensive and in the end will ultimately fail. It is always best to grow what will naturally grow in your area instead of trying to outwit Mother Nature. Folks have been trying forever and have not succeeded
Your apple rootstock will continue to grow, that is until cotton root rot kills it, but even if by some miracle it did survive long enough to fruit, it can't.
http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/ecogardening/appleroot.html

Great article thanks! I guess I'll just give up on the Apples here in Texas and focus more on stone fruit! :D

I have a plum tree so I'll just focus more on that . Thanks!
 
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