Yesterday, we talked about pruning your apple trees to create a vase. Today we are going to talk about how to make apples look like this:
Those green apples were the result of our first year of apple tree reviving. We were able to actually GET apples and they WERE edible (perfect for homemade applesauce!), but they had lots of dimples and brown spot and many, MANY of the apples on the tree shriveled up into little brown balls and were very sad indeed. The problem? Pests and disease. Fruit trees are one of the most susceptible plants to both pests AND disease and so even in organic gardens, they often need the most help via chemicals. The first step is to try a basic insectcidal soap to coat the tree with oil, killing soft bodied pests and minimizing disease, but some times stronger chemicals might be necessary, especially in fighting off problems in an old apple tree.
Aside from spraying, we continually round up any of those little brown apples and diseased bits and throw them in the TRASH (not the compost). Removing them is the very best thing we can do for our tree!
If you DO need to spray, the best time for insecticidal soap and horticultural oil is AFTER a rain when the leaves have water inside and the air is moist outside. The oils work best when they DRY SLOWLY, so humid and cloudy conditions are best. HOWEVER, rain itself will wash the oil away, so DO NOT spray BEFORE a rain. Sunny days are also a no-no because the spray will evaporate before it is able to do the work it needs to do.
|Wait until the rain has ceased, but the humidity still hangs in the air. |
For this reason, it is best to spray in the morning or evening when the sun's drying rays are not around.