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Jbest
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Ping The Helpful Gardener and/or applestar

If you remember a thread of mine from last year where it was recommended that I do a hard prune to restore production of my apple trees. Hopefully I will be able to start pruning in a few weeks, weather permitting. I plan on pruning the tree in the photo first, then posting another photo after pruning and asking for any corrective actions I should take before proceeding with the other trees. Hopefully that way I won’t screw them all up. John
http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14083&highlight=

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Jbest
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I sure won't be doing any pruning today. John

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applestar
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ACK, 10-4, "copy that" :wink:

I'm looking at 15~18" of snow on the patio table outside the kitchen window, and only about 6" of the 24" Kitchen Garden fence above the snow... and it's still snowing pretty heavily, with occasional gusts! There's are drifts that looks closer into the 20's. :shock: Well, the kids will be happy when they wake up. :-()

Good luck with your apple trees. I'll start thinking about pruning after Valentines Day and probably be making the cuts around last week of Feb~1st week of March. Not too far off now. 8)

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rainbowgardener
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We are covered in snow too... not as much as you, 2-3", but enough that everything is looking very winter wonderland. And more to come later today and more again on Mon or Tues!

I don't need to rush those seedlings in the basement too much! :)

JONA878
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What varieties are they John?

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Jbest
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JONA878 wrote:What varieties are they John?

Red and Yellow Delicious, Macintosh, Johnathon and a Northern Spy graft. John
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applestar
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Oh good! JONA is here. :D
I'll be most interested to hear your input. (Flipping open my notepad) :wink:

JONA878
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I don't know if this will help John...but here goes anyway.
Just a liitle history of your apples .
Looking at your photo I assume that the trees are at the hight that you wish to keep them now and so want to just spur prune to maintain crop at that level.

Yellow ( Golden ) Delicious . Clay County . West Virginia 1890.
Poss Grimes Seedling.
Very easy to grow tree. Will take much abuse in its pruning and still crop well. Spurs freely.
Can be picked at green stage but will never develope its real flavour unless left on the tree to go yellow. If the tree is vigorous I would suggest that where you have the choise you remove the strong shoots completely and spur back the weaker ones. This will encourage them to produce spurs while the stronger ones would just shoot away with renewed vigour.


Red Delicious....sport from Delicious. Peru Iowa. 1870.
Originaly called Hawkeye. Renamed by Stark Bros in 1895.
Needs a good hot summer to be at its best. Over here in the UK the summers not really good enough and produces a rather metallic, woody taste.Over 100 sports known. Prune as for Goldens.


McIntosh. Found by John McIntosh in Dundelo Ontario 1811.Also claimed in 1796 but this is probably when it arrived in Canada.
Needs good summer and cool autumn nights to produce good colour.
Prune as the above but remember that to get that good colour you may have to summer prune some of the excess growth away a month or so before harvest to get good light onto the fruit.

Jonathan. Woodstock,Ulster County New York. 1826.
Introduced over here in the Uk in 1826 and grown by a lot of growers till quite recently.
Prune this one a little differently.
The tree is a natural weeper. So I would suggest that you leave more of the stronger shoots and spur them back. This will encourage the tree to keep its shape better.
Look out for mildew on this one. Very prone to the problem.

Northan Spy.East Bloomfield, New York. 1800. Seedling.
This one was brought over to the Uk and grown widely until Jonathan and Delicious took over. Was used a lot in rootstock breeding programmes as
it has good resistance to Root Woolly Aphid.
I haven't grown this one myself so can't help in the pruning other than to suggest that you treat it according to the strength of the shoot growth.
If it has a lot of very strong shoots....remove them and just spur the weak and visa-versa.

Hope that helps a little John.
Good luck.
Jona.

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Jbest
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JONA878 wrote:

Hope that helps a little John.
Good luck.
Jona.


Thanks Jona it helps a lot. I will be starting on the tree in the photo, a Golden Delicious. John
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GardenGeek
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Hey John!
I am sure you need little more patience to get started with your pruning :)
We all waiting for spring desperately
:wink:

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!potatoes!
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february's a great time to prune! and john, you've got your work 'cut' out for you. that tree looks like it's got a good skeleton underneath, but there's lots of vertical young wood that won't help anyone.

greenone
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Can you take an apple an put it in a jar like you would a potato? Or can you just plant the apple? Or the seeds in the apple?

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Jbest
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First welcome greenone, an apple is nothing like a potato so forget the jar. I suppose you could plant a hole apple but I have never heard of that. You can plant apple seeds but if you want good information and/or suggestions we would need a lot more information. How much space do you have for an apple tree, what type of apple, cooking eating or both, what time of year do you want ripe apples ect. John
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greenone
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I was just curious. I do have plenty of room to grow a apple tree. I'm still learning how to get my flowers to grow. :) I just like planting a seed and watching it grow. :) thank you for your input. If an when I do get to plant a apple tree I would like to be able to cook with the apples. I do have a question the peeling on the apple can you use that in your soil or compost like you would banana peelings? We eat lots of fruit around here.
thats why were prob. so fruity :D

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If it's just for fun, apples seem pretty easy to grow from seed. I have one plant overwintering in my vegetable garden, one (hopefully) overwintering in a container outside, and two more that sprouted at the base of the Jalapeno plant that is spending the winter indoors.

Trouble with apples is that all the eating apples need to be cross pollinated to bear fruit, so the seedling apple is *wild* -- there's no way to tell what kind of fruits or what kind of tree characteristics the offspring will have. For that reason, and a few other reasons, apples are propagated by grafting a scion wood or bud to root stock.

I have most success with planting seeds from cold-stored apples (the seeds have already been cold-stratefied and are ready to germinate). I usually look up harvest time for the apple variety where it was harvested, and see how long they might have been stored. But this time of the year, most U.S. apples have been stored for 4 months or more, so any apple you eat, you should be able to plant seeds from and expect them to grow. I usually just stick them in with any container plant I have around. :wink:

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Apple seeds need a really good scarification to get through that tough poisonous seed coat. Keep that in mind...

HG
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Okay, I am confused.

Not by these posts, but by some other posts, I don't recall where I read them.

The person was talking about storing seeds in the freezer.

Anyhow, they said, seeds are not really cold stratified, if they are stored dry in a freezer.

An apple kept in a cooler would be damp cold, I get that.

But, do you need to plant the seeds in soil, and then put them in the fridge? And for how long?

What exactly does qualify as stratifying seeds? How long?
Thanks.
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I guess that best way of describing what is required by the apple seed is to look at what would happens to it in nature.
The seed is designed to survive the journey through an animals gut and then lie in the soil until gemination. It's tough.

In our orchards , although we have countless thousands of fruits fall to the ground, we find very few seedlings.

The best method I have found is one that I was shown years ago. First make sure that the apple is left on the tree until fully ripe and the seed as mature as possable, then let the apple rot naturaly. Whether this acts on the seed case I don't know but it seems to give a better result.
Then put the seed into damp peat in a plastic bag and store in a fridge for six weeks.
Then plant in a pot in a warm place.
You should not expect more than a 30% germination at best though.

Jona.

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rainbowgardener
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But note that HG said scarified not stratified. Scarification is weakening the tough seed coat to give the embryo within a chance to open out. It's meant to simulate some of what happens to the seed going through an animals gut.

It can be done mechanically by rasping the seed coat with sandpaper or rasp. It can be done by soaking the seed in hot (not boiling!) water for awhile or it can be done by soaking the seed in vinegar for a few hours. Any of these treatments should help increase the germination rate.

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applestar
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I eat the apple, break open the core, and poke the seeds around the base of indoor plants. Sometimes they sprout. These two in the Jalapeno pot is 2 out of 5 'Pink Lady' apple seeds and I pulled out one, so germination was 3 out of 5. The one out in the vegetable garden probably came from the compost. The one in the container outside grew out of an indoor container last winter (I remember posting about that).

Give it a try. :wink:

p.s. Maybe Jalapeno is a good companion. I noticed Solanacea weeds always grow well around the apple tree and the the blackberries. In fact, I'm turning an old blackberry patch into a tomato garden this year, and am planning to plant some hot peppers around my 'Enterprise' apple tree in a guild.

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rainbowgardener
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I like the idea of a guild, but do your peppers really get enough sun, planted near the apple tree?

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Well, I was thinking about that -- don't want to dig up the apple tree roots either, you know? So I think I'll plant the peppers on the South side just beyond the drip line.

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Jbest
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The temperature to day was in the high 50s with lots of sunshine. A beautiful day to be outside pruning apple trees. The trees have been producing fewer and fewer apples the last several years and I have learned that a hard prune may bring back the production. Well I did what I think is a hard prune and the wife and neighbors probably think I killed the tree. It has been said that you should be able to throw a cat through the tree without hitting any branches. Well I could throw several cats through the tree. It is also said not to expect many apples the first year after a hard prune (no kidding). The next photo is after the prune. We will see what happens next. John
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The Helpful Gardener
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Well you sure did go for it, John, but I think you did fine.

You will have to stay after those water sprouts this summer for sure, Dormant pruning can really stimulate a lot of new growth, so be ready for a pretty heavy prune in summer as well. But your tree will be much the better and produce that much longer for it...

HG
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Jbest
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HG I assume by water sprouts you mean the vertical growth. I have four more trees to do, do you see anything I should do differently? John
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I am amazed to learn that you can prune in summer.
Even my damaged tree, I thought that I had to wait for winter!
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!potatoes!
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in general, winter pruning stimulates growth and summer pruning (after the main push of growth for the year has stopped) will have the opposite effect. something as ready to bolt for the sky as many pears i've seen, for instance, you'd definitely be better off pruning in summer to try to curtail the upward striving...this is mostly in reply to O.L.

to john - if you keep on the watersprouts (yeah, the vertical stuff) like h.g. says, that looks fine for a 'hard' prune.

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applestar
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There's a Japanese apple orchard website that has nice description of monthly orchard management activities. It's located in northern Honshu Island, which, by latitude, at least, is closer to my area, and despite the warming effect of the Ocean and the Japan Current, gets hit with severe winter weather roaring down from Siberia, so that I believe they might generally have a similar climate.

They "snap/pull off" the water sprouts in July. The orchard owner says it actually causes less damage than cutting.

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Summer pruning is still kind of a newer technique, but I tried it with some trees this past year and it is simply good growth management. And John is exactly right, we are just going after that really apical type growth (the really upright stuff. If she looks like she is bearing hard I might do a little stubbing around the older growth, but again, only if there looks to be too much fruit. I'd rather let the tree rest after a really hard prune the first season than push it.

HG
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Jbest
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Today I finished the hard prune on my apple trees. I try to learn something new every day. What I learned on this job was, it’s a job for a much younger man than me although it will never be required again in my life time. Tomorrow I will spray the trees with oil spray and again in a couple of weeks. I will spray them again with a GP spray before pink tip. After that I will prepare the new Orchard Bee nests and when the blossoms start to open, I will remove them from the fridge and turn them loose. I will suspend any spraying until the orchard/honey bees have disappeared. john
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