Apple tree - what to do with this.

hugh71158July 9, 2013

Hi all,

my first post! :-)

So, I have an apple tree in my back garden. Last year it didn't produce a single apple. This year it is absolutely laden with fruit.

Here is my problem. I am concerned that the tree seems to be hanging low even with the apples as small as they are. As their size and weight doubles and triples, will branches break?

Should this tree be cut back?

A couple of years ago the apples were mostly spoiled by bugs, and my wife does not want me to spray any pesticides. Any suggestions?

Here are a couple of pics. Thanks!!!!

Hugh

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

A pruning can help and it looks like you need spraying.
I wouldn't be concerned about braking branches this year,...most will fall before they mature when infested and will not overload branches. Most apples are biennial bearing,..it probably will set out next year again or has less.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:28AM
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ltilton

You can take off some of the apples to lessen the burden on the branches, tho that's a big mature tree and should be able to handle it.

Thinning the fruit, in general, produces better harvests. But if you don't spray, your apples will continue to be spoiled by bugs, so it probably doesn't much matter.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 8:52AM
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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

That is a nice looking tree. But yeah, it is heavily loaded and some branches could break from too much fruit.

If you wish, you could prune out some of the highest branches where the fruit would be hard to reach and that shade the rest of the tree. But more importantly...

Apples are usually produced in clusters of 5 or 6 fruits per cluster. You will want to remove most of these fruits down to just one fruit per cluster. Some people will take this even further and remove entire fruit spurs so that there is only a fruiting spur every 4-6 inches along every branch.

Otherwise besides possible breakage of branches, the fruits may be too small, too green / not nice red color, and the tree will tend to go biennial as you have suggested, where it produces a ton of fruit one year and then zero the next. If you want fruit every year, you have got to remove like 90% of your fruit, and right away. Actually it might already be too late. Next year will probably be a light fruiting year again, maybe even zero. Ideally you'd want to get rid of fruitlets when they are marble size or less. Otherwise it gets to be too late for ensuring fruiting for next year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:56AM
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hugh71158

Thanks everyone. Sorry, I didn't get an email notification that there were replies.

May I ask - what would be a good spray to use, given that my wife is very organically orientated? :-)

Hugh

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 11:47PM
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alan haigh

Spray has everything to do with location. Where are you located?

The tree has healthy foliage so you are already a step ahead in the game. You may be able to grow organic apples by using Surround but it will change the color of the leaves to a whitewashed look.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:53AM
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hugh71158

@harvestman

I am in Michigan. :-)

Thanks.

Hugh

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 8:38AM
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