Wickson Crab dieback


5 year old buck +
It appears that my wickson crab-planted one year ago, had die back of about 4 inches on the central leader and each limb. That was about 1/3 of last year's growth.

I am on the 3b/4a line for USDA zones.
Firecracker crab on second or third leaf seems OK. Others seem OK.
Did you fertilize them last year? If so when?
maya-this could have been the problem with xs growth. I have seen it happen with other kinds of trees.

They are on light soils, and I used the Ed method of adding black dirt, and one bag of compost to the hole. I usually tuck in a couple small handfuls of chicken bedding/manure on the very edge of the hole at planting, keeping it away from the roots. I will look at the other trees I planted last spring in the same way, but did not notice any problem.
I was just at a seminar Wednesday and the orchard that was hosting it had very little return bloom. The professors that were lending their expertise to the discussion mentioned fertilizing timing, fall, winter, spring temperatures and possible biennial bearing tendency's as reasons for their poor blooms. When talking about the fert and fall temps they also talked about the possibility of some die back too. That's why I asked.
George- I just suspect that too much growth with too little time to harden off in the fall leads to this dieback. Am I so ewhat right, or is there another line of thinking?

That was my problem when I used tree tubes about 25 years ago on various hardwood trees.
Ya I think you're right. I have a little somewhere in the orchards every year, but nothing to bad they do fine in the long run.