Take Action In The Spring To Ensure A Better Apple Harvest In The Fall

Has your apple crop been less than ideal the last few years? Perhaps your apples have had worms in them, or maybe they had fungal spots that made them less than appealing to eat. The secret to a great apple harvest is to start taking great care of your trees as soon as spring hits. Focus on these three tasks, and you can count on more plentiful, delicious apples this summer.

Have the trees pruned.

Whether your trees are young or more mature, the time to have them pruned is very early in the spring before new growth appears. If your trees have already begun to grow new branches and buds for spring, it's too late to prune them, and you'll be better off waiting until the fall. If they're not yet budding, however, you should arrange to have a tree service come prune them as soon as possible.

Pruning apple trees is a rather involved process, and if you do so improperly, you risk reducing your fruit production. Thus, while you could attempt this yourself, you're probably best off leaving it to the pros.

Spray the trees.

Spraying the trees is not too difficult, and you should be able to do so yourself. Make sure you wear protective gear including a plastic suit, a face mask, and goggles, so you don't expose yourself to the spray. Before buds appear, you should spray your apple trees with a dormant oil spray to help get a head start on pest control.

Once buds emerge, you'll want to spray them again with fixed copper to prevent brown rot, a fungal disease that can completely wipe out your fruit crop. A few days after applying fixed copper spray, you'll want to spray with a general fungicide to protect against apple scab. Spray with fungicides a second time when the buds are almost ready to open.

Spread fertilizer.

Fertilization is best done in spring, since it provides the trees with the nutrients they need to produce plump, flavorful apples. In most cases, you'll want to use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 formulation. If your trees have experienced slow growth before, however, you may want to first conduct a soil test (they're sold at most garden stores) and then fertilize according to the results of the test. The soil test will include instructions for fertilizing based on its results.

Fertilizing apple trees is easy. Simply mix the fertilizer with water according to package instructions, and then pour the mixture in a circle around the tree's base.

When apple trees' yields are disappointing, it's often because their growers wait until too late in the season to begin spraying, pruning and fertilizing. Get a jump on these tasks this spring, and you'll be thanked with juicy fruit in the fall. (For more information, contact Able Scape, Inc)