apple trees....yup

johnnym74January 15, 2014

i bought anna and golden dorsett apple trees last spring and so far out of 3 i have 2 left. i lost an anna and a pear 1/2 way through summer. could have been a bad tree or drought. anyone out there have these trees and do they work for you? i had found a guy on youtube who had some over by apopka but his videos are taken down. i learned quite a bit about these trees, but hoping to learn more from someone who actually has them. thanks

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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I have both, and I am generally happy with them.

Mine are on semi-dwarf rootstock, unfortunately I don't recall exactly which one. Both are in the 10-12' tall range and I have to prune them back pretty hard to keep them that size. Both are presently very healthy.

Last year's weird weather (warm January/cold March) played havoc with bloom and I got almost no fruit, though. This cool/cold spell we are having now is good for them.

When my trees were young, I watered them very regularly - newly planted trees don't have enough of a root system to tolerate dry spells. You may have a hard time getting apple trees established if you don't/can't water them that first season. Now that mine are big, established trees, I only water them in extended dry spells.

I fertilize them twice a year with fruit tree fertilizer and keep the area under them mulched and weeded. I don't spray. Yes, the trees get leaf diseases, but in my case the diseases haven't been severe.

I do lose some fruit to bugs and rot, but much of the fruit is perfect, and quite a bit of the damaged fruit is actually useable for applesauce, apple butter, pies, jelly, preserves, and other cooked uses. I just cut out the bad spots. But imperfect fruit won't keep.

Watch out for fireblight. To the best of my knowledge it can't be cured with any sprays available to homeowners. It usually crops up in spring (infections are most likely on new growth, and in cool, damp weather).

Occasionally (once every few years) I will see fireblight on a limb. I cut that limb off 12" behind the infection and remove the diseased limb from the garden. In March 2012 I found fireblight on the main trunk of my Anna tree. I had to cut it back to a stump about 2.5' tall. The tree exploded with new growth, is already back to full size and even made a few apples last year. I see a lot of fruit spurs on the tree now, so if the weather cooperates I may get a full crop. So fireblight even on the main trunk is not necessarily a death sentence for the tree.

Both Anna and Dorsett Golden are partly self-fertile. They bear better together, but you will get some fruit from just one tree. Bloom and fruit ripening times overlap, but Dorsett Golden starts and finishes first.

Dorsett Golden is a sweet apple - flavor is often compared to Golden Delicious. My kids like to eat this one fresh. It is sweet enough to make applesauce with little or no added sugar. IMO it is too soft and sweet for an ideal pie apple.

Anna is sweet-tart and more crisp. It is a good fresh-eating apple (I like apples with a little tartness) and it is good for pies and other baking. However, it is not as tart as most cooking apples, so you will probably want to reduce the sugar in your recipes.

Did that cover everything you want to know?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:54AM
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yeah very good. just about what i thought too on the flavors. now, i have seen some youtube vids of people propagating new trees from limb cuttings. since i lost 1 apple tree but have the other 2 still i would like to do this. it appears to be easy really and makes an exact copy of the tree the limb came from. my trees didnt go dormant this year so i went out and plucked the leaves from them. i`ve seen other people do this. is that okay to do? will it actually make them go dormant or will it kill them? i worry now. how long have you had your trees and how big (or old) were they when you first got fruit? thanks so much!!!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:12AM
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Your pruning schedule would be helpful. Esp for peaches. Do you even have peaches?


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:00PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

Johnny -

Yes, you can pluck leaves to make them go dormant if the weather doesn't make them lose their leaves. Late December or January is a good time to do that.

I wasn't keeping garden records back then, but I think I got the trees somewhere around 2003-2005. I bought them mail order, bare-root, pruned to 3'-4' tall for shipping.They made fruit their third year, if I recall correctly. They may have made just a couple of apples in their second year. Again, this is from memory as I wasn't keeping records then.

Thonotorose -

I do have a mature peach tree. I generally prune all of my fruit trees and my grapevines in January. I am trying to get a few other things done right now so I can get my pruning done this year! Definitely don't skip pruning. Peaches especially tend to get too densely branched. You have to open up the tree so light and air reaches to the center, or you have a disease nightmare waiting to happen.

To control size on any fruit tree, you can summer-prune time during the growing season. (Winter pruning tends to increase vigor; summer-pruning decreases vigor.) Dead wood, water sprouts, crossing branches, and diseased foliage can be pruned out at any time.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Thank you, L... so helpful. I know what I'm doing this weekend. Only two but they need it.

Should I fertilize afterward? And how 'bout persimmons? Any tips there?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:08PM
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yes thanks LinFL. i hope to see an apple in a year or 2. i have a nectarine but never got any fruit. most of it died off and has now regrown. looked like a fungus got it. it had a goo on it. maybe it will keep going. i dont see any of that stuff now on the new growth.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:16PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

Thonotorose -

I fertilize my deciduous fruits in spring when the trees break dormancy and then again in early July. It's pricey, but I really like the Gardens Alive! Fruit Tree Fertilizer. Since I have sandy soil (it's much more sand than soil!) I use their Build Up Formula. I like to re-mulch in spring, laying the mulch on top of the fertilizer. That way I don't worry about the fertilizer blowing away.

I've never grown persimmons. I want one, but I haven't figured out where to put it!

Johnny -

Please do keep an eye on that nectarine for the return of that fungus. At the first sign I would spray the tree with a fungicide. Better yet, since you know the tree is susceptible, consider preventative spraying.

If you want to stay organic, there are organic fungicides (Actinovate and Serenade are two), but they are definitely better at preventing infections. This is actually true of the synthetics as well - prevention is always easier than cure.

If you opt not to implement a preventative spray program, please monitor the tree and spray at the very first sign of infection. It gets out of hand fast.

Proper pruning to allow light penetration and air circulation to the center of the tree is another important way to prevent diseases - and maximize fruit prodcution. Nectarines should be pruned to an open vase shape; also thin out the branches.

I just found an excellent article about peach pruning; it will apply to nectarines, too. If the text is too long, the article also has pictures and diagrams. I just learned some new things from it, too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Tech Peach Pruning Guide

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:13PM
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okay great, thanks
i wasnt sure if i had (well the tree) a fungus or a bug. i got the tree from lowe`s a long time ago and never got a fruit. i had some small ones that fell off after a few months but nothing big. now that i have learned more about trees for florida i will help this little one along.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:27PM
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