untreated apples and apples dropping

arylkin(5b, south of Chicago)July 25, 2013

We moved into our house this April and it has turned out that we have a full size apple tree in our backyard. Since we didn't know what kind of tree it was until we saw the apples, we haven't done anything to the tree at all this year.

I've been reading a lot (and am scaring myself lol) on the many many problems and pests apple trees have. It seems many of the apples have worms, and we're losing lots of apples from the tree and have been for some time. Most of the apples falling now seem to be bad or rotting or wormy, so I wonder if the tree is somehow aborting the bad apples? We are constantly picking up bad apples (I'd say at least 10 a day). There do appear to be good apples on the tree however, without brown spots or any holes that would be an entrance for a worm.

Since we haven't done anything to the tree, is it likely we will have any sort of harvest this fall, or is it likely that all of the apples will be wormy? I guess we'll see what happens. Does the coding moth (I think that's the one that causes all the problems with the worms) lay eggs just once, or are apples that are currently healthy/worm free still at risk?

Looking ahead to next year, it seems from everything I read that it says you MUST spray with a pesticide every 10 days or you will have your whole harvest ruined. I can't say that I love the idea of spraying the tree every week and a half, and really don't know how such a thing would be feasible with such a tall tree (I'd say it's at least a good 18 feet), along with the fact that we have a fence now and to spray one of the sides I'd have to have a ladder on my neighbor's property.

What do people do? I'm not an orchardist, but still, it would be nice to eat some of these apples. It's a pretty tree, but I want to get something out of it, especially since I'm having to continually dispose of rotten apples each day.

Also, while the tree does seem healthy as a whole, it does drop yellow leaves, even in the summer. Is that normal? It's just a leaf here or there, but with such a large tree the leaves add up and our yard is always kind of a mess. Is that just the way it is?

Thank you!

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A whole lot depends on exactly where you are. Pests and diseases are different in different locations.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 4:46PM
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You've got plenty of time between now and next spring to do some 'homework', reading on things like Integrated Pest Management, minimal spray programs, kaolin sprays, and bagging fruits(with inexpensive ziploc bags) for insect pest control.
You don't HAVE to spray - I don't - and yes, a lot of my fruits are bug-damaged, but there's still plenty of usable fruit.

Will you have any left by fall? Who knows? You may not even have a fall/winter apple variety - some of mine will be finished fruiting within the next couple of weeks.
And, for a number of years, I've given up on ever getting any of my late-season apples, as the wasps and hornets destroy &/or eat all of them, long before they're anywhere near ripeness.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 5:32PM
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arylkin(5b, south of Chicago)

Lucky_p that's encouraging. At this point I was worried that I wouldn't have a single useable apples after reading so many scary things about pest control. My apples are long from being edible though I think. I guess we'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:00PM
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I think you will have apple left. There are more then you realize on the tree. You should also be learning about pruning to be sure your tree is in the best shape it can be in for all future years. There is a ton of good info on this forum so you can learn a lot here.

I find it exciting to learn to grow fruit. By this time next you you might be planning to graft other varieties of apples onto the tree. Fruit growing is that exciting and addicting of a hobby.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 12:40AM
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