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rainbowgardener
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Several fruit tree questions

So I have 2 apple trees and 2 peach trees. The apple trees were planted fall of 2015 and were good sized specimens. They are a dwarf Gala and a semi-dwarf Red Delicious. The two peach trees were planted spring last year and were considerably smaller to start with. All of them appear to have done pretty well.

Earlier this year, before they leafed out, I pruned all of them back to 6-8 main branches, cut out all the stuff that was growing straight up, etc. The semi-dwarf Delicious had gotten very tall, maybe fifteen feet and had two main leaders. I shortened it quite a bit and got rid of one of the leaders.

So:

1) Pruning: Since they were pruned they have grown all bushy again, with lots more growing straight up branches, sprouts from most of the places I cut, etc. Do I keep pruning or do I just let them do what they want now and leave it to the next annual pruning?

2) Each of the apple trees had a few clumps of leaves that just turned brown and died. I took them all off and trashed them, but I don't know what else I should be doing. I have so far not sprayed them with anything and I am an organic gardener, I don't want to spray anything poisonous/ harmful.

3) The Gala has set a bunch of apples. The Delicious has not bloomed. If I am remembering right, it did bloom last year, but never set any apples. The Gala made a few apples last year. Is the Delicious just on a slower schedule? Is there anything I can do to encourage blooming / fruiting (at least for next year, if not this)?

4) Likewise one of the peach trees has peaches and one doesn't. The one that has a few peaches on it, the peaches have already turned peach colored, even though they are still very small and hard. Will they keep growing?

Obviously I'm impatient! :) Some of these questions will get answered over time. But I'm new at growing fruit trees (these trees are my first) and I don't know what to expect.

Thanks so much JONA or anyone else with thoughts on these questions.
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applestar
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Re: Several fruit tree questions

I think the leaf clusters that turned brown could be warning signs of fireblight. I have a cluster on my columnar that I saw yesterday but didn't have the tools -- then forgot. (Thanks for reminding me) I'm going to clip that off and check the cut for brown margin in the cut, then spray with 91% rubbing alcohol which is my main means to sterilize cuts. If I see brown in the cut, I will cut the branch down further to prevent "it" from reaching the main trunk (this is a columnar with short side branches if any, so hopefully not serious infection).

If it was a cultivar that is rated VERY RESISTANT to fireblight, like my Enterprise, then I wouldn't worry as much. Even Pristine managed to shake those off though not as resistant. Same goes for pears that have these symptoms. Weak cluster shoots sometimes get blasted like that without any further issues to the attached branch. More significant when entire branch tip starts to brown.

...I might not be correct in thinking this (browned/blackened side leaf cluster/whorl) is fireblight either -- I just think of that as prevalent and likely in my garden...

I would break off any straight up tender growths as soon as they start if possible -- rub off as buds even. Better to do this before humid muggy fungal season sets in. After that, I wait until after mid-summer/Labor Day when it's dry but before the fall rains start, then cut them off (Ideally, when I'm on top of things) but by then, they can be massive and need extra care.

Depending, I've bent some of those over with weights/tie downs and allowed them to set in shape, then pruned them later during the dormant season.

...are your apples not supposed to pollinize each other? Also, was there a frost/freeze while they were in bloom? One of my peach trees bloomed later but was hit by late frost/freeze and got blasted, while the other one that bloomed earlier escaped that cold snap and is fruiting well.
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JONA
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Re: Several fruit tree questions

Hi RG.
Your Goldens,
Unusual, as this variety is usually very prolific in its blossom as it will crop willingly on one year old wood.
I would suggest that as it has no crop then it will grow very hard this year. You may well have to summer prune to keep control. Remove the strongest shoots ...leave the weaker. Don't summer prune though before the end bourse buds have shut down. This is normally end of July to Mid August.
If you summer prune too early before these buds have shut down they will break into shoot growth and you will have lost next years fruit buds and finish with a cats cradle of growth. Summer pruning too early is one of the major reasons for lost fruit bud on normally prolific trees.
The Gala.
Bred from the GD.
I'm afraid you may have difficulty with this var if you want to remain organic. It's very succeptable to Scab ....even more than GD's are,...and once it gets established on the tree it's the very devil to keep under control. I guess Sulphur would be the best organic control and I don't believe Gala minds this chemical.

Our peaches do carry on growing as they ripen ... but not that much!..but as ours are under glass I have no knowledge of outdoor growing ones I'm afraid.
This winter as the tree has grown do much I resorted to a massively heavy prune. Cutting shoots way back to just a few buds from the frame branches. Result...the trees smothered with young fruit..and I do mean smothered. I'll take a few pictures once I know what's not going to thin off.
John

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