Young apple trees - spray, prune - what to do?

jiverMay 4, 2009

Hello all. I'm the typical neophyte who thought "wouldn't it be nice to grow some apples in my backyard", and I humbly come to you seasoned veterans for a little advice. I have two young apple trees - one is a honeycrisp and one is a golden delicious. They're both 6-1/2 to 7 feet tall, were planted last September, and are in full bloom now. I live in SE Michigan, and I'd like to know what I should do in terms of spraying / bagging, in order to get the best apples come fall. I've read several posts, and most pertain to old trees - just curious what your advice is for these newer guys. They're both about 6-1/2 to 7 feet tall. Thank you!

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franktank232(z5 WI)

Watch out for Cedar Apple Rust... That was my first mistake... Spray with Immunox or something along those lines (Menards/HD sell)... Other then that the Jap Beetles will eat your leaves if you have them over there and the bagging is pretty self explanatory.

Might have to thin your apples if it sets too many fruit...although wait to do it...i made the mistake last year and ended up with not many apples (my tree was young and i think it just decided it didn't want to keep its babies!!) and then the remaining bagged apples (in July) fell off in high wind and the squirrels got the rest!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 12:23PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Jiver-
I think some people would like to help, but not knowing what your disease and pest pressures are like out there in MI, it's a bit hard to answer. You could contact your local extension office and let them tell you what pests you're likely to face. Then people will be able to answer questions about those pests specifically. This might be an observation year for you where you don't spray too much, but just keep an eye on what diseases and what insects are affecting you. Then, after you know that, you develop a plan for next year.

Another route is I would search for posts from "denninmi". Perhaps "denninmi apple". He is right in your back yard, so you may be able to get some good info by reading his many posts.

Stay away from the very common, but almost useless Bonide Fruit Tree spray. You can search for more info on that.

I agree with Frank. CAR is my biggest nemesis here in RI, and Immunox is appearing to be a good solution for that. For me, I couldn't find it at Home Depot though... they only had "Immunox Plus" which has an insecticide in it which is NOT rated for fruit. If you search for "glenn_russell Immunox", you'll see that I've posted where I got mine quite a few times.

Good luck, and welcome to the club!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:09PM
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Hi Jiver!

I live north of Detroit and also have a HoneyCrisp. This is its fourth year of life. The first year that it fruited we had about five gorgeous and tasty apples (that is all it gave us). Last year it was full of apples, but it was also full of every pest and fungus known to Michigan apples (Cedar Apple Rust, flyspeck, Plum Leaf Curculio, apple maggot, web worms, leaf roller, and more)! I was a newbie and had no clue how to prepare for it or what to do about it. This year I have read up and am hoping for better success. I want to avoid chemicals so am climbing uphill.

I would love to keep up with you as we both attempt to keep our apples healthy to harvest so maybe we can learn from each other.

I cleaned up every leaf and dropped apple, threw away all the bad apples from the tree, and carefully inspected the tree (often) for signs of bad leaves or bugs (which I pinched off upon discovery). I semi-thinned (left two or three on each bunch) my apples out a few weeks ago but hadn't yet learned about bagging. I sprayed it with copper soap and a soap spray distributed by Gardens Alive to control fungus. This method requires reapplication every 7 days AND after every rain. This is high-maintenance but not a big deal when you only have one tree.

I just bagged my tree this week and noticed as I was out there that several of the baby apples had bug bites already. I am afraid this means they've been parasitized, so I clipped them off and threw them away. I thinned to only one or two apples on a bunch and bagged all that looked healthy. I hated to clip off all those with bug bites, but I should still have over 100 large apples to harvest. I think next year I will be sure to bag it the week BEFORE Memorial Day since this week (the week following Memorial Day) there was a fairly high incidence of insect activity.

I look forward to hearing of your success.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:15AM
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Hi Valerie,

I live in zone 6, near Buffalo, ny. I have two new apple trees(dwarf liberty and semi dwarf empire) planted one month ago, and plan to use organic methods. I just ordered some "sticky traps" for apple maggot. Fake apples you hang in the tree that trap the apple maggot.You place them 3 weeks after the petal fall. I have heard of spraying sulfur, but need to learn more about that. I don't know where to get the sulfur. There is something called cooling moth traps that I read about. I have baby apples on both trees. I suppose I need to thin them to a couple per bunch. EVeryone agree with this? What is copper soap ?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:42PM
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