I wanted to yank out my Jonagold apple tree after going through my Master Gardener training. If you want a product worthy of eating, beginning in early spring, you really must tend to your apple trees weekly with pesticides and fungicides. I was additionally discouraged when I learned, it doesn’t matter how well you do on the maintenance of your apple trees; if your neighbor isn’t doing the same, you’re sunk. All that bad juju from across the fence just keeps multiplying and visiting your fruit stock. You can’t do much about that.
So, I was eyeing the tree for replacement, when I learned about bagging my apples with paper or plastic baggies or even covering them with clay soaked, nylon footies (like the ones you see at the shoe stores). Not only is this little tip easy—it’s organic.
There is some time and labor involved, but it’s worth it.
While you are thinning your tree, tie on the clay-soaked, footies on each new, little apple start. Why thin the apple tree? Thinning fruit trees is important. The branches cannot support heavy fruit. Strive to thin to one fruit on each fruit spur, that remaining fruit will grow large. The other reason for thinning is you don’t want the fruits to touch each other. If they do, it creates an ideal spot for pests to be protected and for Coddling Moth larvae to enter the fruit.
Where can you purchase the footies (aside from your local shoe store)? Go to the Home Orchard Society website. I sent a check for $25.00 and the Home Orchard Society sent me 250 “fruit sox” and some Kaolin clay in less than a week. When you run out of the clay mixture, you can easily order it from D&B Supply.
One more thing, before you plant your apple tree you need to know that you’ll be counting the months. Wait anywhere from 2-to-5 years before you allow your apple tree to produce fruit. You must help it establish a healthy root system and give it time to mature, so it can withstand the weight of ripe fruit. This is when you might be very thankful for farmer’s markets.