mewer
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Treating apple trees organically

I have an apple tree in my yard. We get apples on it every other year. Not sure what kind of apples but they taste very good. However, there seems to be a pest that is affecting the apples. Finding lots of holes in them and they also are weirdly shaped. Is there anything I can treat the tree with that is organic? Don't want to treat it with dangerous chemicals.
Thanks for your help!

john gault
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Location: Atlantic Beach, Fl. (USDA Hardiness Zone 9a)

What's under the tree? e.g., just dirt, grass or weeds? Or is it mulched?

JONA878
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Hi Mewer,
First the likely causes of your apples problems.

Holes in apples where you then find a maggot inside them is caused by the Codling Moth.
She lays here eggs on the surface of the fruit in the summer months and the resulting critter burrows into the fruit and munches away until you take a bite.
To stop mum laying is the best way organicaly to deal with her.
If you hang a Codling Moth Pheromone trap in the tree you have a fair chance of catching the males of the moth before they have a chance to mate with the females.
( The trap gives off the scent of the female Codling and fools the male into thinking he has found a mate....he then gets stuck on the traps sticky surface.)
It will not get all of them , but it could at least bring the numbers down to avoid spraying.
There are organic controls but as you can see from this article...it ain't easy.
https://www.ipmnet.org/CodlingMoth/ipm/biocontrol.html


As regards the misshaping.
Several main reasons available.
Poor pollination will cause distortion of the fruit as the side that is carrying the fertile pips will grow much larger than the other side.
Frost damage will cause severe distortion.
Aphid damage when the fruit is very small....especially Woolly Aphid and Rosy Apple Aphid.
Finally if there are brown lesions on the fruiit as well this is Scab and that too can distort the apple.
Organic aphid control is with Surfactants.( Soaps ). but both Woolly and Rosy Apple types may need a little hand painting with some form of spirit...Meths. for e.g.
Scab, other than suggestions below, Organicaly...Sulphur dust or spray or Neem oil.
Good hygine around the tree will help to keep a lot of problems under some control.

Sorry this is so long winded...but tried to covor all the likely causes.
Remove dead and dying wood. Rake up leaves and burn.
Prune the tree so it has good light and air movement through it.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

bangstrom
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Re: Treating apple trees organically

Nylon try on "footies" can be used as apple bags and a spray made with "Surround" kaolin clay are two more organic solutions for insect control as is dormant oil spray for scale. I haven't tried either of the first two methods yet but I hope to do so next year. I have tried spraying my trees in the past but the insects still get most of the crop.

JONA878
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Location: SUSSEX

The one snag with spraying winter oils is that they can remove the 'goodies ' from the tree as well as the ' baddies '.
Ladybird lavae, typhlodromide mites and Anthrocorade bugs are massive eaters of the pests of fruit trees and both can be badly damaged by winter washes.
So much so that over this side of the pond these sprays have been dropped by most growers completely.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

bangstrom
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Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:08 am

JONA878 wrote:The one snag with spraying winter oils is that they can remove the 'goodies ' from the tree as well as the ' baddies '.
Thanks for the information. This is good to know.

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Spray the tree once a week with fruit tree spray it costs about $10 per bottle and will last all summer. Shake well pour it all in a garden hose sprayer turn on the water and start spraying. About 1 minute of spraying is all it takes once a week. The price in the link is too expensive.

https://www.antonline.com/p_203-NX_574856.htm?sID=NX

You can buy a generic garden hose 1 pint sprayer at the hardware store for $5. They sell low volume and high volume. You want the low volume. The same amount of water sprays out only difference is the low volume mixes less fruit tree spray in the water.

Buy a bag of Urea at your local farm supply store. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup around the tree in a 10 ft circle once a week then give the tree plenty of water about 5 gallons sprayed in the same 10 ft circle.

I have been getting 11 to 14 bushels of apples from one tree.

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shadylane
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Location: North Central Illinois

Very interesting and solid infomation Jona, thanks. I'll have to look into those codling moth traps.

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