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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Apple tree medic needed
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:25 PM   #1
Youretheguy
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Default Apple tree medic needed

Is there anyone else that presses apples from their own trees? If so, what do you spray to keep the pests at bay? All my fruit trees seem to have this lichen looking fungus on the trunk and branches. Some of the leaves also have rusty looking spots on them too.
To be frank my parents planted the trees 26 years ago and they never really pruned or sprayed them so they are quite overgrown for fruit purposes. Last year the two trees produced at least 2,000 lbs of apples but this year there is only one measly Frankinapple. The whole reason I started making cider was because of last years yield and because it came out so good I don't intend on stopping. Any info is much appreciated.

Oh yeah and I should mention I only know the species of one of the trees. One has the telltale lumps of the red delicious and the other is unknown.

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Old 06-21-2012, 01:16 AM   #2
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The splotches that you see on the trunk and branches is nothing more that lichen or moss and is totally normal, you know the saying "moss grows on the north side of trees"??

The reddish spots you see on the leaves are from insect damage as they burrow in between the leaf surfaces and feed and cause this problem. For non fruit bearing trees this is not an issue. For fruit bearing trees it could be an insect that will mature and then feed on the fruit but not usually.

The problems begin when the fruit begins to set. Bees, wasps, hornets, caterpillars, possum etc can then go after the fruit.

You can go to the garden center and find a general fruit/orchard spray that you can use regularly to ward off many of these problems.

In addition, generally fruit trees will have abundant crops every other year and the odd years will produce but less.

Hope that helps, if you need more info let me know

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Old 06-21-2012, 02:47 AM   #3
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You're lucky to have such great trees, they look pretty healthy. Off years can be caused by frost, or just because the tree had too much fruit last year. I try to make and bottle enough for 2 years just in case. If you are just using the apples for cider, hold off with the sprays unless you have to, remember you will be drinking lots of that stuff.

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Old 06-21-2012, 04:17 AM   #4
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The late frost in most northern states really did in the fruit blossoms this year.......Yields in many areas will be severely hampered to nonexistant.

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Old 06-21-2012, 04:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbathurst View Post
You're lucky to have such great trees, they look pretty healthy. Off years can be caused by frost, or just because the tree had too much fruit last year. I try to make and bottle enough for 2 years just in case. If you are just using the apples for cider, hold off with the sprays unless you have to, remember you will be drinking lots of that stuff.
I just found in the news that New York orchards lost 40 to 70 percent of their fruit this year due to a false spring and late frost. I have never heard of the whole one year fruit one year not thing but now that I think about it that seems to be the way these trees produce. I have 4 saplings that I want to add too but the way these two grew they wont be producing fruit for at least 15 years.
Two of the saplings are clones from a wild apple tree I found while hunting in the Catskills. The fruit off this tree are absolutely incredible and not like any commercial apple I have ever tasted. If i had to describe the character profile I would say that the balance of the tart and acidic flavors are dominant but the sweet flavors are natural and complex. I feel like commercial apples have become too sweet and for the first time I'm starting to understand the benefits of how nature presents sweetness. Also I'm very curious as to what it's apples will do to my ciders, and cysers.

thanks dropping some helpful knowledge.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:26 AM   #6
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You have no apples this year for a few reasons. First, you must prune the trees every winter. You might think they look great but to have a good Apple producing tree most people will think it looks crappy. Cut off all branches that grow straight up and down. Then thin it so that you can throw a frisby though it. Most places( ours included) had too early of a spring. The trees blosomed before the bees came out. Out of our 15 trees this year we have 1 that pollinated.

As far as spraying goes, we spray 6 times during the summer. Do not spray until the blosoms are off the trees( you will hurt the bees needed to pollinate). Then we spray every 2 weeks with a fruit tree spray from the hardware store.

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Old 06-21-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jmayerl View Post
You have no apples this year for a few reasons. First, you must prune the trees every winter. You might think they look great but to have a good Apple producing tree most people will think it looks crappy. Cut off all branches that grow straight up and down. Then thin it so that you can throw a frisby though it. Most places( ours included) had too early of a spring. The trees blosomed before the bees came out. Out of our 15 trees this year we have 1 that pollinated.

As far as spraying goes, we spray 6 times during the summer. Do not spray until the blosoms are off the trees( you will hurt the bees needed to pollinate). Then we spray every 2 weeks with a fruit tree spray from the hardware store.
I'm not disagreeing with you but there are different viewpoints. Cider trees don't get pruned as much because the color and size of the fruit isn't important, and it doesn't matter if they bruise a bit when dropped from the high branches. Having a higher, denser canopy can help protect against frost, though it hasn't helped in this case. Spraying isn't needed as much because the fruit can stand a little insect damage, and if you drink a lot of cider you will be consuming a lot of the spray. Growing trees for cider is different to dessert fruit. In England they let the apples ripen as long as possible, until 1/4 of the fruit has fallen to the ground is a rule of thumb.

Wild seedling trees have a long tradition of use in cider orchards, in France orchardists used to use a lot of seedlings, though its more standardised these days. Use your own wild trees and your cider will be unique.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbathurst View Post
I'm not disagreeing with you but there are different viewpoints. Cider trees don't get pruned as much because the color and size of the fruit isn't important, and it doesn't matter if they bruise a bit when dropped from the high branches. Having a higher, denser canopy can help protect against frost, though it hasn't helped in this case. Spraying isn't needed as much because the fruit can stand a little insect damage, and if you drink a lot of cider you will be consuming a lot of the spray. Growing trees for cider is different to dessert fruit. In England they let the apples ripen as long as possible, until 1/4 of the fruit has fallen to the ground is a rule of thumb.

Wild seedling trees have a long tradition of use in cider orchards, in France orchardists used to use a lot of seedlings, though its more standardised these days. Use your own wild trees and your cider will be unique.
We prune our trees pretty aggressively every winter, and very aggressively on alternating low-bearing seasons to try and minimize bi-annual fruit production. This helps increase light exposure and ventilation allowing the trees to dry quickly every morning and reduce the risk of disease. What we don't do with our cider trees that a desert apple grower does is thin the fruit to increase individual size and shape since it's all about the juice. The orchard is checked daily for any signs of bugs or disease and spray is used when necessary.

Commercially, US producers are not allowed to use drops for human consumption. I believe UK & French producers are though so this may account for some differences in orchard management. I would imagine there are other regional differences as well. It all ends up making unique ciders everywhere you go

Not that this matters for us this year since we have practically no fruit as a result of the frost.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #9
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Commercially, US producers are not allowed to use drops for human consumption. I believe UK & French producers are though so this may account for some differences in orchard management.
Wow, is this really true of cider fruit? There is no chance of human pathogens getting into the cider, I could understand if it was just fresh juice. Large cider operations in the uk and france shake all the apples onto the ground, then harvest with a sweeper, a much more economic way to harvest. It would be a significant disadvantage for US cider makers if they can't do the same, having to pick early and pay pickers, when there is no good reason for it.

On the cider workshop they are saying the crop in the UK is very light this year.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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If you have to pay pickers then you have to keep the trees fairly small for OHS reasons, not safe to pick in large trees. I much prefer trees allowed to grow big like the ones yourtheguy has, makes a much nicer tree and still gives plenty of apples.

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