Spring apple care by the rules
The apple tree in our gardens is considered the most popular fruit crop. It is ahead in terms of distribution of cherries and pears, and its fruits are stored significantly longer than other trees in the garden, therefore, in the spring, the gardener begins to take care of the apple tree first. Apple trees, especially if they are still young, suffer from winter frosts and hungry rodents, and their branches sometimes bend to the ground or even break under the weight of wet snow. 10 steps of the mandatory spring apple care we will describe in this article.
- What care is needed for apple trees in spring?
- Sanitary pruning of apple trees
- Whitewash apple tree
- Watering apple trees in spring
- Barrel cultivation
- Barrel Weed Removal
- Barrel Circle Mulching
- Elimination of winter damage
- Spring feeding apple trees
- Apple tree protection from pests and diseases
- Protection of apple tree flowers from spring return frosts
What care is needed for apple trees in spring?
In general, spring apple care is no different from caring for other trees. However, each operation in the list of work to care for this crop at the very beginning of the season is very important. Ultimately, their implementation can increase the immunity of the plant, enhance its ability to withstand a whole range of diseases and pests and give an excellent harvest of apples, which, with careful cleaning, can lie for a long time and please with a fresh taste even in winter.
If we talk about the general stages of spring care for the apple tree, then this, of course, sanitary pruning, whitewashing the trunk and skeletal branches, watering, if necessary, eliminating various injuries left over from the winter period, applying fertilizers, preventive treatments against pests and diseases, the fight against the first spring pests and diseases, as well as the protection of buds and blossoming flowers from spring return frosts. We consider each item from this list in detail.
1. Sanitary pruning of the apple tree
Sanitary pruning of apple trees should be carried out as early as possible, it is highly desirable to complete it before the sap flow begins. All sections must be done “on the ring”, that is, without leaving a hemp, which can turn into a hollow over time; Use only sharp tools to trim that do not bulge the bark.
To understand what to cut, you need to carefully examine the crown of the apple tree - the first thing to do is to remove all dry shoots, broken, too thin and those that grow right in the middle of the crown (in the future they will certainly lead to its thickening, the crop goes to the periphery of the crown and decrease).
When carrying out sanitary pruning of apple trees, pay attention to the tops - these are strictly vertically growing shoots that form, most often in trees over five years old, they do not produce fruits, but only pull nutrients onto themselves. It is better to remove the tops by cutting them onto a ring, or choose a couple from the total mass and try to bend to an angle close to 900 and so fasten. Over time, this position of escape will continue, it can be untied, and it will begin to bear fruit.
When sanitary pruning of apple trees, pay attention to shoots that are too sharp away from the trunk - at angles less than 450. Such, most likely, under load from the crop simply break. Under them, you can already set up the supports by making ordinary stalks with an elastic band in the center, for example, from a bicycle chamber, or tie these shoots to higher ones, thus giving them fracture strength, or simply cut them if there are many such shoots.
Try to prune the apple tree when a stable temperature is established, its sharp fluctuations stop, and if there are frosts during this period, then the temperature should not be lower than ten degrees.
When pruning a branch, try to ensure that part of the shoot after pruning has a kidney at the end pointing up and out of the crown, so you will avoid thickening of the crown in the future.
2. Whitewashing of the apple tree
Spring whitewashing of apple trees can be carried out both with lime and with garden breathable paints based on white acrylic.
Read more about the composition of solutions in the article "Spring whitewashing of fruit trees"
It will not be amiss to once again recall the advantages of spring whitewashing. It protects the trunk and skeletal branches from sudden changes in day and night temperatures, when the bark can not stand it and just crack, fall off, and this does not bode well for the tree.
Whitewashing protects against rodents and a number of pests that do not attack whitewashed plants. This method can also cope with fungal diseases, especially if lime is used.
Remember that spring whitewashing can easily wash away the rain, and you may have to repeat this process during the spring two or three times.
Conduct whitewashing always starting not from above, but from below, and move to the first skeletal branches, trying to “capture” them too.
For young trees, lime whitening can be dangerous, cause bark burns, and if you couldn’t get the white garden paint on an acrylic base, then whiten the young trees with ordinary chalk, dissolving it denser, bringing the composition to a creamy state.
3. Watering the apple tree in spring
This event is more important for the southern regions of Russia, where the snow melts very quickly, and most of the moisture evaporates. At the same time, the roots begin to actively absorb the nutrients dissolved in the water from the soil, an upward flow of nutrients occurs, the leaves bloom, flowering begins, and photosynthesis processes are activated.
Given all this, if there is not enough moisture in the soil, but you are a resident of the south or it was just a snowy winter, then each week you need to pour a bucket of water under each tree if it is younger than five years old, and twice as much if older. Keep an eye on the weather. So, if it is cloudy and raining, then additional watering is not necessary at all.
4. Loosening of soil in the near-trunk strip
If everything is in order with moisture, then do not forget that the soil must breathe. In order not to disrupt the air exchange of the soil in spring, the soil in the near-tree strip of the apple tree needs to be loosened more often (at least once a week) so that the soil crust does not form. You can use a conventional hoe for loosening. When loosening, so as not to damage the roots, it’s worth digging a hoe by no more than three or four centimeters.
5. Weed removal in the near-trunk zone
Weeds appear rather quickly and actively grow, and if the apple tree is more than five years old, then, in fact, you can not pay attention to them, but just gently, trying not to damage the trunk, mow (better with a sickle). But young seedlings can suffer from weeds, for them weeds can become competitors for food and moisture.
In addition, pests and even various fungal diseases can sit on the weeds for the time being. It is better to weed out young apple-tree trees by hand after rain or watering, trying to pull them out completely, then the next time they will not appear soon.
6. Mulching the trunk circle
Mulching is an important, necessary and simple stage of work on caring for an apple tree in spring. Mulch the soil usually with humus; it is better not to use sawdust and especially acid peat in spring.
Using mulching, you can solve a number of problems: strengthen plant nutrition; retain moisture by mulching the surface of the soil after irrigation; inhibit the growth of weeds by mulching the soil after their removal.
Due to all of the above, this simple trick cannot be ignored. With the help of mulch, if it is lined with a layer of 5-6 cm, you can even save the delicate root system of young plants from freezing, if suddenly the frosts decide to return.
7. Elimination of winter damage
After winter, you can see the effects of sunburn, when the bark literally exfoliates. In this case, the dead parts must be removed with a wooden scraper, the area treated with 2% copper sulphate, and the next day all places should be isolated with garden varnish and bandaged.
Remember that the first time to eliminate all damage may not work. To heal a large wound, the procedure will have to be repeated several times.
8. Spring feeding apple trees
In the spring, the best fertilizer for the apple tree is a complex fertilizer, for example, nitroammophosk. Since there is enough melt water in the soil, top dressing can be applied dry as soon as the snow has completely melted. First you need to loosen the soil in the near-stem strip, then pour it with a bucket of water at room temperature from a watering can (for uniform wetting), then spread the fertilizers evenly.
Under an apple tree over five years old, you need a tablespoon of fertilizer with a pot, and under a tree less than five years, half a tablespoon is enough. After applying this fertilizer, it is advisable to level the soil and mulch with humus (a layer of a couple of centimeters).
It is possible to carry out foliar top dressing, for which 10 g of nitroammophoska is diluted in a bucket of water, a backpack sprayer is filled and the plant is treated - this is the norm for a plant older than five years, for younger ones it is necessary to reduce the norm by half.
9. Protection of apple trees from pests and diseases
Usually in the spring a whole series of preventive treatments are carried out against diseases and pests. They begin with treatments with copper-containing preparations, it can be a 2% Bordeaux liquid or a 3% solution of copper sulfate. Trees need to be processed from a spray gun or a backpack sprayer, trying to moisten all the branches as a whole.
Then apply more serious drugs. For example, against the scab and moniliosis on the apple tree, the drug Chorus is used; for protection against powdery mildew, the Skor drug and the like are allowed.
Against pests such as the codling moth, when the years of individuals begin, you can treat the plants with the Alatar preparation, which also helps with leafworms; “Aivengo” - reliably protects from aphids, “Fitoverm” - will allow to cope with ticks.
When treating apple trees against diseases and pests, strictly follow the instructions on the package.
In addition to chemicals, you can use various biological preparations, hang pheromone traps, stick up hunting belts - dry, glue, poisonous. The main thing is to often replace them with new ones or clean them.
10. Protection of apple flowers from spring return frosts
It is not uncommon for years when returning cold ruins the flowers and leads to the fact that we don’t get a crop in the form of apples at all, no matter how much we take care of the apple. It’s difficult to help with anything, but you can try. The simplest and most reliable option is by agreement with neighbors, if they do not mind, kindle smoky fires on the periphery of the site, this can increase the temperature in the garden by a couple of degrees and save the flowers from freezing. One drawback is that the weather must be calm and the fires must be maintained until the frost is gone.
Sometimes sprinkling helps when all the trees are literally sprayed with tiny droplets of water from a hose with a special nozzle. Water, falling on trees and flowers, freezes in the cold, giving its heat to the plant.
We hope our article will help you in practice. And with the help of such simple events in the spring, you can provide yourself with a decent harvest of apples in both summer and autumn.