There are a lot of good reasons to grow trees in your yard. They provide shade, beautify the landscape, and even increase your home's curb value. However, growing an apple tree gives you some extra benefits as well – you get fragrant blossoms and delicious fruit during the harvest season. Growing a healthy apple tree isn't that much harder than keeping any other tree in peak condition, but there are some things that you have to know to maintain your apple tree's health and ensure a good harvest. Here are some tips that can help you maintain an apple tree in your yard.
Branch care is particularly important for an apple tree because you want all parts of the tree to get the sunlight and space they need to bear fruit, and you don't want branches breaking under a heavy load of fruit. There are two important things that you can do to ensure healthy, strong branches all the way around the tree. The first is branch training. While your tree is young, you need to train the branches to maintain the shape that you want the tree to have – usually with shorter branches on the top of the tree's canopy and longer branches on the bottom, an arrangement that allows all parts of the tree to get adequate sunlight. You can achieve this by tying branches together to direct them and prevent them from becoming entangled.
Another important part of branch care is pruning. Pruning can be part of the training process (keeping branches on the uppermost part of the tree short) but even if you're not training your tree, you'll need to prune occasionally to remove dead branches or dangerous branches and to improve the appearance and yield of the tree. There is no one perfect time to prune an apple tree, but winter and summer are the most common seasons. Winter is a good choice because the tree is dormant, and pruning comes as less of a shock to the tree. However, it's easier to spot dead branches in the summer when healthy branches are loaded with leaves. Spring pruning is generally not encouraged, because your tree can lose too much sap during this season.
In order to grow healthy apples, you'll need to be on your guard for pests that are common to these types of trees. Codling moths are particularly annoying pests for apple tree owners. They can infest the flowers and fruit of the tree with their larvae – the "worms" that people find in apples are really codling moth larvae.
You can prevent codling moths from getting to your fruit by thinning it so that the fruit doesn't touch. The area where two apples touch is a common infestation site. Another tactic is to cover the fruit with paper bags once they reach ½ inch to one inch in diameter. Alternatively, you can invest in pheromone traps or bug zappers to reduce the codling moth population around your yard.
Like any plant, apple trees are also prone to certain diseases. The most common diseases for apple trees are mildew, which you can recognize by a powdery substance on the leaves, and apple scab, a fungus infection which is characterized by dark spots on the tree's leaves and fruit.
Dampness is a contributing factor for both mildew and apple scab infections. When you're growing apple trees, you need to take special care not to overwater. When their roots are exposed to too much water, they will begin to develop disease. A particularly humid environment or a streak of rainy weather could also contribute to these diseases. Pruning is an important part of preventing mildew and apple scab, because well-pruned trees can more effectively circulate air and dry off in wet conditions. However, you may also need a preventative fungicide if your tree is particularly vulnerable.
If you're hesitant to train or prune your apple tree yourself, or if you suspect disease or a pest infestation that you're not sure how to deal with, a qualified landscaping company can help. Look for a tree trimming professional with experience dealing with fruit trees for the best possible care for your apple tree.Share
8 July 2015
When my husband and I bought our house years ago, we thought it would be our "starter" home and we would move in a few years. We soon had two children, and we then decided against moving since we live in a great school district and we love our neighbors. However, I was growing very tired of the appearance of our home. We painted it a different color, and it still seemed like the "same old house" that we were tired of. We finally deciding that maybe good landscaping would "do the trick" and make our home more enjoyable to use again. We were right, and I now love our home! I now love spending time in our yard and just enjoying the scenery. I have such a passion for landscaping now I decided to create a blog about it. I plan to share many landscaping tips, so come back!