Necrotic leaf blotch (NLB) is a physiological disorder whose occurrence is related to air temperature, light intensity, and soil moisture. The cause of NLB of apple is not known. A hormonal imbalance may be involved because symptoms are enhanced by gibberellins and reduced by abscisic acid. The disorder occurs worldwide on ‘Golden Delicious’ and its bud sports. ‘Golden Delicious’ seedlings vary in susceptibility. ‘Prime Gold’ and ‘Nugget’ are also affected by NLB. For more information, read this article on ‘Golden Delicious’ Necrotic Leaf Blotch in Apple Trees.
Answer provided by Alan R. Biggs, West Virginia University.