My little Golden Russet has been struggling since I put it in the ground last fall. It was bare root planted into a mound of amended soil. The area I planted into has a lot of clay, but we spent the prior year filling deep garbage pits and otherwise amending with organic matter. This spring, the tree leafed out nicely and then immediately showed signs of what looked like rust. (Note: Cedar-apple rust is prominent here.) As my other apple -- a Crimson Topaz -- was showing signs, I removed the infected leaves as they appeared and treated the trees with Serenade. The Crimson Topaz has done fine, but the Russet has gone through phases of rallying and waning. The CT, however, is planted in a different area -- so different soil. This past week, the Russet has taken a very bad turn. It's been suggested that the tree is sitting in perched water, and so I planned to move it. However, with the recent changes, I'm wondering if the problem is something worse. The new leaves are frequently yellow, older leaves develop spots and then yellow, and last week dark olive-coloured areas have appeared and are spreading through the entire leaf. The leaves, however, are not dried out, but rather feel like thin leather. Any ideas what it could be? And is it worth digging it up (this weekend) and moving it to try to save it? Thank you. (I apologize for the quality of the photos. I can't figure out how to orient them upright here.)
Desperately seeking help with apple tree
Sorry - probably too late - but you should get a sample or these photos to your local extension service or to your nearest agricultural college. Or even a good reliable nursery. It does look systemic, and it does not look good. One possible problem that you might be able to fix. The clay soil could be acting like a container and the improved soil might be acting like a sponge. Basically, your tree might be drowning. Second best guess is that it is fungal or viral - and probably a death sentence.