Very High Calcium levels in soil good for my apples?

kokos(6a)December 3, 2010

I have off the charts calcium levels in my soil in Greece. They are measured "very high" from the lab that did the test. What I would like to know does having very high calcium levels help alleviate common calcium problems with cultivars such as: Honeycrisp, Mutsu e.t.c. that need high calcium into the fruit itself.

Basically, what I would like to know is will I have to apply less calcium spray's to my apples in these very high calcium soil levels?

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alan haigh

The sweet spot for apples seems to be at about 7 although they grow fine in more acidic soil- I've seen healthy trees down to the low 5's. I suspect your soil in Greece is excessively alkaline. Certainly anything over 7.5 will begin to create nutritional problems for apples.

The theory is that if you have a pH around 7, apples will be better able to draw the calcium they need from the soil but it doesn't seem to work out that way with the varieties you mention or many others as it is very common for commercial growers to apply foliar calcium even if their soil is neutral. Some of this need is to address storage issues.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 6:10AM
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kokos(6a)

the ph is 7.7 and the soil level of calcium is 7700 ppm

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 12:50AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

kokos:

I'm thinking that calcium is not avaliable to your apple trees. In Washington state, as in nearly all the western USA, soil Ca levels are very high. They still have problems with bitter pit and need to spray their apples with Ca. I've seldom had an issue and don't spray Ca. But I usually don't store apples for more than a couple months.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 9:01AM
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applenut_gw

Kokos;

Your soil pH means chlorosis will be a problem; you should also check your iron to see if it is low. You may need to amend with soil sulphur and iron if you get a lot of white leaves on the new growth tips.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:08AM
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kokos(6a)

Iron levels are indicated as "high". I haven't seen any white leaves. The growth looks healthy in my pear trees that I've planted. But I will add some soil sulphur for sure.
thanks

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:36AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Your soil test iron readings can be quite good and you will still get chlorosis if the pH is too high. With your pH, it is a possibility.

Some trees are more susceptible to iron chlorosis than others, too. You don't need to try to drop the pH unless lowering it will attack other problems also. Otherwise, just watch the leaves and if chlorosis starts appearing, add sulphur or iron sulphate. When I've had iron problems, I like the iron sulphate. It works quickly and doesn't require large quantities as it would if I were trying to permanently alter the soil pH.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 3:23AM
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kokos(6a)

Is that why a few of my pear trees is not producing growth....it's trunk's are growing but they have put out little growth this year. The leaves look kinda white and slightly crispy. Different than pear trees in North America that have soft and greener leaves.

Can my pear trees die in this condition of 7.7 ph?
Too bad I have to go to Greece and fix the problem, I'm in Canada now. I will need to add some Iron Sulphate around each tree. Pear trees are most susceptible to chlorosis, more so than Apples a nursery guy told me...I just didn't understand what chlorosis was when he told me.

thanks all.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:32AM
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kokos(6a)

Is Iron Sulphate better quality than just regular sulphate?
I know that there is Iron in the first one I mentioned.
I hear it is $$ costly.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:17PM
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kokos(6a)

bump

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 1:13PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Iron sulfate is much quicker acting than elemental sulfur. Sulfur is best for long term lowering of soil pH. There are many sulfate compounds but most don't help with pH issues.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 3:50PM
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