Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:04 am
Location: Texas

Pruning & Pest Prevention of Young Apple Trees

Alright, so this is the first year (finally!) my little apple trees are actually baring fruit. I have a Granny Smith and a Golden Delicious. The Golden is really producing a lot of little apples, I count a dozen so far. It took some time to find my granny's, there are a bunch of thick leaves on this tree (it's a year older) but when I did find the apples, they are about an inch or so larger than the Golden. So far the Granny's are about walnut size (some smaller) and the Golden are about marble size (average, a few bigger, a few smaller).

I pruned Fall and right before Spring. My questions are:

Thinning: Should I even worry about using chemical thinners? I've done some research, and for both of these can use Sevin XLR Plus, but it sounds to me like it'd be more worth it if you have an orchard or a lot of trees. I just have one of each here, should I just stick to hand thinning? And if so, do I wait until after their drop in May? ( I assumed this means apples will actually drop from the tree?)

If I SHOULD spray, when is the best time?

Also, as for pests, I haven't noticed anything then again I don't know what to look for. I was going to try a preventitive none pesticide way of vinegar and honey in milk cartons to attract pests there instead of on the apples, your thoughts on this?

Pruning: Should I prune leaves? My granny has quite a bit in the upper canopy, leaving no fruit baring on the lower branches, so I'm guessing I need to cut something, not sure what. Should I just wait on pruning until after the season or what?

OK, sorry for all the questions.

Lastly, if there is any suggestions on if I should do anything else to bare some good fruit let me know. I do fertilizer (but its typically the kind that has some weed control in it. Never questioned if this was a bad thing, is it?) I've seen little stakes that feed trees, should I worry about investing in that or you think my trees are fine as is?

Thanks in advance sorry fot he long post![/b]

Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Texas is a long, long way from Maine but I'll try to address your questions.

As to thinning I would stick with doing it by hand but I have no idea of optimum timing since your weather is so radically different.

I would not use the honey & vinegar solution. If it works it will be non-specific and you'll be killing just as many, if not more, good insects than bad insects. A good insect control strategy depends on your ability to identify undesirable insects and determine if they are present in high enough numbers to justify a control strategy. If a control strategy is required you want to make it as narrowly targeted (i.e. species specific) as possible. If you end up killing pollinating insects you won't get much fruit.

You almost assured will want to prune your trees but how to do it is beyond the scope of this forum. There are a number of good books on apple tree pruning. Here is a a good introduction:

I'm not sure what you are using for fertilizer but most weed-n-feed type fertilizers are intended for lawns not fruit trees. If you have a significant risk of fire blight be sparing with the nitrogen.

Your local county extension agent should be able to supply more regionally appropriate answers to your questions than any of us (unless there is a lurking Texas apple orchardist).

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