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Honeycrisp Leaf Mottling

Author: Esther McGinnis


  • Leaves have a blotchy pattern of yellowing during the summer
  • This disorder only appears in young ‘Honeycrisp’ apple trees that are not producing much fruit yet
  • The appearance is more random than iron chlorosis


Leaf mottling-McGinnis
Figure 1:
Note the irregular yellow botches that may be more pronounced in the leaf margins (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)


Leaf mottling2-McGinnis
Figure 2:
Leaf mottling has an irregular pattern and may resemble leafhopper damage (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

Management and other important facts

  • This disorder is genetic and occurs primarily in juvenile ‘Honeycrisp’ apple trees
  • The mottling is caused by the accumulation of large starch granules in the leaves that reduce photosynthesis
  • No treatment is necessary and the symptoms will abate as the tree matures and produces more apples

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