Apple

Care Guide

Apple Care Guide

For years we have researched and chosen varieties of these popular fruits that are the most insect and disease resistant. Unfortunately, these popular fruits are susceptible to some degree of insect damage if precautions are not taken. Our choice for guarding against damaged fruit is Surround crop protectant. Surround is a clay-based product used by organic growers. Surround works very well. Preventing insects from damaging fruits.

In the spring after the petals of the flowers of your fruit tree have fallen, various species of aphid, codling moths, leafhopper and plum cuculios are attracted to the very small fruits. We spray Surround at petal fall and keep the fruit covered with the Surroundfor at least 5 weeks to control these insects. Surround can be purchased from Edible Landscaping. See our web site or catalog for more information.

Apple Plum Cuculio Damage
Plum Cuculio Damage on Apple Fruit


Keep the young fruits covered with Surround, spraying at 7-14 day intervals for the first four weeks after petal fall. Coverage can have advantages for longer periods up to harvest. In June the apple fly maggot lays their eggs on the fruit, Surround will control this insect also. The sticky fake apples that are hung in the trees are for the purpose of trapping the apple fly adults. If conditions warrant it, gardeners may widen the spray interval to 14-21 days, so long as good film coverage is maintained. Surround by itself does not control any diseases of apples. However, a 2000 study showed when used in combination with Lime-sulfur, it provided excellent suppression of powdery mildew, apple scab, sooty blotch and fly speck. Lime-sulfur is also an excellent dormant spray that kills over wintering scale, insect eggs and mites. See our apple varieties for varieties resistant to powdery mildew, scab and fire blight. Our main apple selections are resistant or immune to scab. Follow directions on product label. Surround also cuts sunburn damage on apples by at least 50% if that is a problem in your area.

Japanese Beetles

Apples are not as susceptible to Japanese beetles as cherries and usually do not interfer with the plants overall health. Surround is a good non toxic choice against Japanese beetles, leafhopper, rose chafers and thrips. Gardeners should apply Surround before adult Japanese beetle emergence in order to prevent the establishment of a pheromone trail that will lead other beetles to target host plants. Even late application after the beetles have arrived can give adequate control.

Planting

Grass inhibits young fruit trees, in fact grass gives off a growth inhibitor to the young trees. Keep approximately 3' diameter grass and weed free circle around a newly planted tree. "Burm" the outer circumference of the grass free area. So, when you water, the water stays within the circle. Be sure to water the tree especially through hot dry spells.

Dig the hole with a spading fork and shovel. The fork aerates the soil as it digs and keeps the sides of the hole porous. The shovel will remove the lose dirt not picked up by the fork. Grass can be removed with a flat shovel and used to fill a bare spot somewhere else in the yard.

Choose a site to fit the mature size of the tree. Have a water source close by or hook up irrigation. Watching your tree grow can be so much more pleasurable if its water needs are easily taken care of.

Keep plants close to your activities. If your plant a tree in a out of the way corner the plant may be forgotten.

If you have purchased a grafted tree, see if your can find the graft. It's usually a swollen area a few inches to 1' above the top of the pot. Usually place the plant deep enough in the hole so that the graft is about 1 to 2h above the soil. DO NOT PUT ANY RIPE COMPOST OR MANURE NEAR THE ROOTS. This can rot the roots. If you wish to use some fertilizer at planting, slow release minerals like rock phosphate (phosphorous), greensand (potassium), are fine. A product like Plant Tone tm also makes a fine top dressing. Apply compost as a thin mulch. A mulch of 2-3" is also good for moisture retention using wood chips. Manures can be broadcast or dug in away from the plant a few feet, so it will be available in the future, after the new tree has settled in. Spread roots from root ball especially if they are circling the pot. These are usually feeder roots so spread them and plant shallow instead of deep.

About 6 weeks after planting pull up young weeds before they become large in your cleared space around the tree.

Leafhopper usually live in fields and tall grass areas. If you have a young apple tree near tall grass look for leafhopper in June. Surround works well to keep the leafhopper damage to new growth at a minimum. Also mowing the grass keeps leafhopper populations down.

Apples grow best with a ph soil 6.2. Liming your fruit growing area yearly is a good practice. Do not apply more than the 5lbs of lime 100 square feet at one time. If the soil needs more lime make several 5lb applications at 6-week intervals to raise ph. Of course about 17 of our western states have alkaline soil, so regular liming would not apply. Check your county extension for information and help.

Protection Against Sunscald Injury in Winter

During the late winter months, the warm sun will often cause sap to rise daily in the over wintering fruit tree. As temperatures cool toward nightfall, the sap returns to the roots. Sometimes, however, a particularly rapid drop in temperature will "catch" the sap in the trunk, freezing it and splitting the bark. This injury is known as "sunscald", or "southwest injury" and is often noticed only months later. To discourage the sap from rising, paint the trunk of the tree, from the base up to the first branches, with white latex paint. The goal is to lighten the bark color so that it will reflect late-inter sunlight and stay relatively cool. Do not use oil-base paints; they do not allow the bark to "breathe". he paint job need not be neat and tidy; simply sop it on and it will usually last up to 2 years. Good coverage at the ground level will also discourage tree borers. Sometimes honeydew from aphid or sap from an injury will drip on the trunk, which will then oxidize and darken, becoming nearly black. This black spot can absorb heat, contributing to sunscald in late winter. Use a small brush with soap and water to wash sooty mold off the trunk.

Size of your Tree

Apple tree sizes
Apple tree size grafted on different rootstocks

Apple trees are grafted on other apples that are called rootstocks and control the size of a mature tree. An apple variety can be very dwarf of very large depending on what rootstock it's grafted on. The tree should be tagged with the variety name and rootstock should be included. A dwarf tree usually needs about a 10' circle to grow. Columnar apples less, and standard apples up to 30'. The apple's tag info should help you plan the spacing of your tree.

Apple Rootstock List

M27 most dwarf 6'
P2 Dwarf 9 - 12' 35% of standard
M9 Dwarf 9 - 12' 25% of standard
Geneva 16 Dwarf 9 - 12'
B9 Dwarf 9 - 12'
Spur type apples even on standard rootstock (Rtsk) can be dwarf.
Geneva 30 Semi Dwarf up to 15'
M7 Semi Dwarf up to 15' also EMLA 7
M26 Dwarf to semi dwarf 10 - 15' also EMLA 26
MM106 Semi standard also EMLA 106
MM111 80% of standard also EMLA 111
Interstem trees usually have a standard type root and a piece of dwarf between the variety and root. This makes a dwarf tree that's well rooted.

Sunscald on Mature Fruits

Usually sunscald of fruit happens in dry hot conditions such as commercial apple orchards in California. Growers prevent this with an application of Surround. Sunscald injures the blush side of the fruit and the burn makes the apple unusable for storage and affects the overall quality of the fruit.

Disease control for Apple, Peach, Almond and Grapes.

We are using this new spray at our nursery and will give more hands on information as we learn about the product.

Regalia-NEW Fungal and Bacterial Disease Control
Regalia triggers a plant's natural defense systems to protect against a variety of fungal and bacterial pathogens. Used in tank mixes, program rotations, and stand-alone, Regalia provides proven control of important fungal and bacterial diseases including Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Botrytis Gray Mold, Early Blight, Late Blight, Citrus Canker, Brown Rot, Greasy Spot, Bacterial Leaf Spot, Target Spot, Gummy Stem Blight, Walnut Blight, and others.

Regalia has been successfully evaluated by many university and independent researchers on a vast range of crops and diseases. Results prove that Regalia is as effective as many leading conventional fungicides.

How Regalia Works
When treated with Regalia, the defense systems of crops are "switched on" to protect against attacking diseases. Research shows that plants treated with Regalia produce, and accumulate, elevated levels of specialized proteins and other compounds known to inhibit fungal and bacterial diseases. Regalia induces a plant to produce phytoalexins, cell strengtheners, antioxidants, phenolics, and PR proteins, which are all known inhibitors of plant pathogens.

Regalia is rain fast in only one hour, so growers can get important sprays out and protect crops even in tough weather, or when moisture conditions are conducive to disease development.

Regalia is recommended as a preventative treatment.

Brown Rot Blossom Blight and Fruit Rot- Fruit rot is managed by controlling blossom and
twig blight in the spring with preventative control measures. For maximum control, apply Regalia
at pink bud and full bloom. If disease pressure is high, an additional application after petal fall
is recommended. Pre-harvest sprays for fruit rot control should begin four weeks before harvest on a 7-10 day interval. Rate 1.25 tablespoon per gallon of water.

Powdery Mildew- Applications of Regalia should begin within 2 weeks following petal fall and
continue on a 7-14 day schedule depending upon disease pressure.

Regalia is the alcohol extract of giant knotweed. Giant knotweed, Polygonum sachalinensis is a plant that produces many defensive chemicals. These help protect it against insects, diseases, and even other plants. Knotweed defensive chemicals also can have profound effects on other plants and animals, causing beneficial changes in metabolism. Extracts from the giant knotweed, for instance, can protect plants against pathogens that cause powdery mildew, grey mould, insects, and many other diseases. Substantial yield increases are often seen because the treated plants remain free of disease, and their lifetime is extended [12, 13]. Knotweed extracts have low toxicity to mammals and provide protection by boosting the immune system of the plant. Animal tests have also shown that extracts and pharmaceuticals isolated from giant knotweed or its relative, Japanese knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum, protect against cancer, are anti-inflammatory, lower blood cholesterol, protect against diabetes, and improve cardiovascular health. The extracts of giant knotweed must be handled with care because they contain allelochemicals (chemicals that inhibit growth of competing plants), and may inhibit the growth of the treated plants. The pigments emodin and physcion were responsible for the growth interference [14]. The interference pigments have been employed in the treatment of inflammation in humans.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed the acute toxicity and genotoxicity of the extract and has approved its safety noting that the extract is mildly irritating to the eyes. The extract is approved for use with all foods [15]. EPA maintains a fact sheet verifying the safety of the product [16]. Reynoutria sachalinensis (an alternative name for P. sachalinensis), a naturally-occurring plant currently found in 25 US States as an ornamental plant, is an invasive weed, and a grazing crop. In fact giant knotweed and Japanese knotweed are both invasive weeds in Europe and North America. For example giant knotweed threatens to displace native riparian forests in the state of Washington [17]. Harvesting the weed to produce biopesticide useful in both organic and conventional food production might be a project for improving both the forests and healthy food production. The knotweed extracts appear to have a double benefit, guarding the health of the food crops and treating the ills of consumers.

Pheromone Deterrents for Codling Moth

A very 'green' way of dealing with codling moth damage to fruit (worm damage usually entering near the stem, boring into the core of the apple) is to use mating disruption techniques. The female scent that the male codling moth locates the female by has been made available commercially to growers and nurseries. The simple twist tie design emits for about 120 days the female scent. These ties are placed at a spacing of about 10' x 10' through out the area where the orchard is located. The male becomes totally confused and can not find his mate. Therefore no eggs are laid on the fruits. The packet sold by the manufacturer can do a few acres of apples and are costly and not distributed to the consumer. We use them at the nursery and enjoy using them for codling moth, upper and lower peach tree bore and oriental fruit moth.

Pruning

I usually keep our apple trees open and round headed. Some varieties are more upright so I let them take on a central leader shape. Over lapping branches can happen about the 5th year. Since those branches won't get much sun I'll remove the clutter.

Some rootstocks "sucker" below the graft. Cut these as close to the trunk as possible. If left unchecked they can become large and hard to prune. I use a hand held pruner for pruning apples. I've had these rugged pruners for years. If you are dismayed by your pruner, or do not own a pair, I recommend purchasing a high quality pruner.

An apple bud that's larger than the others is a flower bud. Observe the difference and you'll know if your tree is going to fruit. Look in the fall or winter for next years flower buds.

Observe the flower clusters set about 5 fruit if all the flowers set fruit, you'll get a lot of fruit. Usually a lot of small fruit. One fruit to a cluster is good. So thin all but one of the fruits in the cluster. A good spacing for fruit is 3 - 4" apart.

Spacing insures larger fruit
No Spray Apples
For perfect no spray apples bag your fruit. Sandwich bags work for apples or there's fruit bags designed for fruit.

Choose one fruit per cluster as soon as it can be bagged. The sooner the better; to get there before the bugs. Choose the fruit with no scars, blemishes, plum curculio damage etc. Staple the bag to the opposite sides of the stem. The bags will weather the season. Pick the mature fruit in the bag or take the bag off a month before harvest.

We've done our best to find disease resistant apples. That's why you don't see a lot of familiar varieties on our offerings. Our focus is landscape type trees, so cedar apple rust, fire blight and scab resistance is a main concern.
Apple Cedar Apple Rust
Cedar apple rust


Nutrition(apples)From the Tropical Fruit News, volume 50.

Apples are claimed to have plant derived chemical compounds are associated with positive health effects. Many of the Phytonutrients found in apples are strong antioxidants, fighting free radicals. When people consume fruits, 2% of antioxidant compounds (also called phenols) come from apples. This makes apples the greatest source of phenols in the diet. Apples have many benefits. They are not hearty suppliers of many of the well know nutrients, like vitamin C or folic acid. However, they area good source of fiber, antioxidants and potassium. Compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the US, they have the second highest level of antioxidant activity. Perhaps more importantly, phenols are not bound to other compounds in the fruit. That allows them to be more available for absorption into the bloodstream.

Whole apples especially with their peels, have been found to have a number of powerful antioxidant effects. The total antioxidant activity of 100 grams of whole apple is equivalent to the antioxidant effect of about 150mg of vitamin C. However, 100 g of apples has only about 5.7 mg of vitamin C. Clearly, the antioxidant activity of apples comes from other nutrients like quartering, caechin, polarizing, and photogenic acid. Studies have found numerous health benefits related to the consumption of apples. Apple's two types of fiber help regulate the movement of the bowels - in both directions. Both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber (pectin, found primarily in the skins) help relieve constipation. The insoluble fiber works like roughage, sweeping debris from the digestive tract. Pectin acts as a stool softener, draining water into the stool, increasing stool bulk, and making it easier to pass. On the other hand, because pectin firms up an excessively loose stool, it's also used to treat diarrhea. Both soluble and insoluble fibers in apples have cancer protective activity since they relieve constipation and send potentially toxic substances out with the stools. Pectin grabs toxins (heavy metals like lead and mercury), and flushes them out of the body. Researchers found a positive relationship between apple consumption and lung functioning, showing lower incidence of asthma and reduced risk of smokers developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Quercitin (a flavinoid or pigment which gives apples their color) from apples has shown in studies to inhibit growth of cancer cells in the lungs, breast, prostate, liver, and colon. British researchers found that 1/2 to 1 liter of apple, grapefruit, or orange juice daily, increased urinary pH value and citric acid excretion. These factor significantly decrease the risk of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Finnish epidemiologist (scientist who study the effects of substances on large populations) conclude that high consumption of falconoid and fiber from apples, tea, onions, and broccoli were directly associated with the lowest risk for coronary disease mortality and thrombic stroke. Again, apples were featured as the most closely associated with these benefits. Animal studies show that apples lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. At the same time, they raise beneficial HDL cholesterol. The laboratory animals studied produced less cholesterol. They also excreted more cholesterol in their feces when fed apples, pears and peaches. Apples, however, had the greatest cholesterol lowering effect.

Daily consumption of quartering from apples and cloudy apple juice may help reduce the damage caused by the "bad" type of cholesterol and protect against heart disease by slowing the oxidation process involved in the build-up of arterial plaque. The two types of fiber in apples provide a double whammy on cholesterol. Insoluble fiber latches onto LDL cholesterol in the digestive tract, sweeping it out of the body. It's soluble fiber (pectin) reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol produced in the liver. Apples' antioxidants protect VLDL and LDL ("bad") cholesterol from oxidation. Adding jut one large apple (about 2/3 of a pound) the daily diet has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol 8-11%. Eating 2 large apples a day has lowered cholesterol levels by up to 16%! Apples derive most of their natural sweetness from fructose (not the same as in high fructose corn sweetener). Natural fructose is a simple sugar, but one which is broken down slowly. This property, especially when combined with apples' hefty dose of fiber, helps to keep blood sugar levels stable for type 2 diabetics. Phenols in the skin of certain cultivars of apples (Braeburns fared better than Granny Smiths) may provide a hefty dose of UV-B protection.

Choose organically grown apples whenever possible. Most of the apple's fiber is contained in its skin. The skin also stores the majority of its quercitin. Unfortunately, conventionally grown apples contain pesticide residues which accumulate in apple skin. Petroleum-based waxes, used to keep the apples looking fresh, also add toxic residues. Peeling apples results in the loss of falconoid and most of its valuable fiber. Purchasing organic apples allows you to eat the whole apple without throwing away a major portion of its nutrition. Eat the whole fruit instead of simply drinking apple juice, eating peel-free applesauce or taking fiber supplements. Single nutrients are not found in whole, natural foods. There is a beneficial synergy between the many healthful compounds found in apples. They act in together for your greater benefit.

When researchers put together a mixture containing only the currently identified bioactive compounds in apple juice (chemicals like proanthocyanidins and quartering). The chemical mixture was ineffective in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells. One such study published in Nutrition Journal analyzed 85 studies. Apples appeared most consistently linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetics as compared to other fruits and vegetables. Eating apples was also associated with increased lung function and increased weight loss. Apples' protective effects against free radical damage to cholesterol reach their peak at three hours following apple consumption and drop off after 24 hours, providing yet another good reason to eat a whole fresh apple a day. In many studies, apples worked in a dose-dependent manner: the more apples eaten, the more protection.