Crabapple: Stem rot

categories: Crabapple Crabapple Diseases Ornamental trees Ornamentals

revision date: 2022-11-21 02:02

Crabapple stem rot: rotten stem has a dark blotch.
Crabapple stem rot: rotten stem has a dark blotch
Photo by: R.P. Regan


Stem rot of crabapple is caused by a soil-borne fungus. This disease is most prevalent in the winter on nursery stock. The fungus infects through wounds on the stem where the bark is broken. Cankers develop on the stems of young plants and near the base of older plants. Active cankers are orange to purple-brown with a darker margin. Older cankers are brown, slightly sunken, and may develop cracks. The tissues beneath the canker may be discolored. Twigs and branches above the canker may show yellowing leaves or die back. Cankers can grow to 8″ in length and may expand to completely girdle the stem.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Plant disease-free plant material.
  • Prevent injury to the stems and trunks of trees.
  • Plant in well-drained sites.
  • Do not mound soil around trunks.
  • Do not plant in infected areas.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended