Features of autumn apple care
Some gardeners mistakenly believe that care for the apple trees in the garden is necessary only in the spring and during the ripening of fruits, but this is not so. After harvesting ripe apples, the tree also needs some care. It consists of several separate stages, for each of which you need to find the right time. In the article, we give the rules for autumn apple tree care, as well as several recommendations for collecting and storing ripe fruits.
Did you know? In the ranking of popularity in the world, apples take third place after bananas and mangoes.
Why do you need autumn care for apple trees?
Experienced gardeners know that in the autumn a whole series of events needs to be carried out in the apple orchard: they will effectively prepare the apple trees for the winter and strengthen them so that next year the gardener also has a good harvest of delicious fruits. Autumn tree care includes routine pruning, processing the surface of the trunk and soil around it, as well as feeding.
- Autumn care of apple trees in the garden allows you to achieve these goals:
- improve winter hardiness of trees and protect varieties with low frost resistance from the negative effects of low temperatures;
- increase the yield of the apple tree, giving it the opportunity to fully restore strength after the fruiting season;
- protect the tree from possible diseases and pests, the sources of which can remain wintering on the plant or near it.
Video: how to care for an apple tree in autumn
In order for the apple tree to survive the winter well and regularly enjoy a plentiful harvest, it needs the right pruning. It is usually carried out after harvesting and leaf fall, with the additional goal of rejuvenating the tree and forming a beautiful crown of the correct form.
The main rules for autumn pruning of the apple tree are listed below:
- All damaged and dry shoots are removed - they make the tree vulnerable to diseases, pests and frosts.
- The pruning procedure is carried out with a sharpened knife or secateurs - this will make the cut-off place even and prevent excessive injury to the bark.
- For disinfection, all sections on the tree need to be treated with a solution of copper sulfate prepared from 1 teaspoon of the substance and 1 liter of water.
- After the disinfection procedure, the places of the slices are smeared with linseed oil or garden varnish - this contributes to the rapid healing of damaged wood.
- Sanitary pruning of the apple tree is permissible only in dry and clear weather - this will avoid cracking of wood in the places of cuts.
- The timing of this procedure should be chosen so that before the onset of the first frosts there should be at least 2-3 weeks - so much time is required for the apple tree to successfully heal the damage received during trimming.
Another mandatory procedure that should be included in the autumn care of the apple tree is the processing of the trunk. It is carried out with the aim of strengthening the tree, destroying the larvae or eggs of harmful insects remaining under the surface of the bark after the fruiting season, as well as to protect the wood from icing and the bright rays of the winter sun.
Important! Damaged sections of the trunk must be disinfected with hydrogen peroxide in order to protect the wood of the apple tree from the penetration of infections and pests.
Handle the barrel carefully so as not to injure its surface. The main stages of autumn processing of a tree trunk are listed further in the article.
Identification and removal of moss and lichens
This procedure is carried out after sanitary pruning of the tree. Its main goal is to provide the surface of the barrel with free air access. Even a small amount of moss on the stem and branches of the apple tree can be dangerous for the health of the tree, since in the future it can grow on most of the bark, which causes the branches to dry out and the shoots to die.
The rules for cleaning apple bark are listed below:
- The procedure is recommended to be carried out after the fall of most of the leaves of the tree.
- During the cleaning of the bark, the soil around the trunk of the apple tree needs to be covered with a layer of film - after the procedure is completed, it will be easy to collect all the removed fragments and take them out of the site to avoid spores from entering the soil near the tree.
- Green plaque from moss and lichen should be carefully removed from the bark of a tree using a plastic scraper.
- The cleaned areas should be disinfected with a solution of copper sulfate (300 g per 10 liters of water), and then greased with garden varieties for speedy healing.
- You can prepare a special mixture to clean the apple tree from moss - mix the same amount of clay and slaked lime, and then add water to them to make a thick, porridge-like mass. The product is applied to a patch of bark covered with green coating and left to dry for several days. Then carefully remove the mixture with pieces of lichen and moss.
Important! You can not clean the trunk of the apple tree with metal objects - they severely damage the wood.
Detection and control of harmful insects
In autumn, larvae of insect pests can remain on the surface of the apple tree, which successfully wintered under the bark of the tree and are activated with the onset of spring heat.
In order to further protect the apple tree from the attack of these insects, they carry out such actions:
- with the help of a metal brush, neatly remove the sections of the old bark on the trunk - they need to be taken out of the site and destroyed, since under them can be larvae of pests and pathogens;
- to protect the tree from fungal diseases, the trunk is sprayed with an aqueous solution of urea (0.5 kg of substance per 10 liters of water);
- to destroy harmful microorganisms and pests will help spraying the crown with a solution prepared from 400 g of soda ash, 50 g of laundry soap and 10 l of water;
- in the presence of fungal diseases of the apple tree, the trunk is sprayed with a fungicide solution (for example, Chorus);
- if the tree has been attacked by pests, then for the most effective protection the trunk and branches are irrigated with an insecticide (for example, Karbofos, Aktara).
Important! Any autumn processing of apple trees from diseases and pests should be carried out on a dry and clear day and only at positive air temperature.
Whitewashing the trunk of an apple tree
To the surface of the trunk is not icy under the gusts of a cold winter wind, as well as to protect it from the rays of the bright winter sun, whitewash the stem and the bases of the lower skeletal branches. This procedure helps protect the bark of the tree from the invasion of rodents, but for this it is recommended to additionally wrap the trunk with thick cardboard, spruce branches or roofing felt.
Experienced gardeners give such recommendations for the autumn whitewashing of apple trees:
- the procedure must be carried out in late October or early November, after trimming and cleaning the trunk;
- to whitewash the trunk, you can use a ready-made store solution or prepare it yourself from 500 g of copper sulfate, 3 kg of lime, 200 g of wood glue and 10 l of water;
- for a young apple tree, whitewashing is recommended to be applied to the stem and lower skeletal branches;
- so that the solution is guaranteed to remain on the surface of the crust, it is applied in dry weather;
- at the time of the whitewash, the outdoor temperature should be at least + 3 ° C.
In addition to processing the apple tree, it is equally important to care for the soil around it. This procedure will help to better protect the tree from diseases and pests, improve air access to the roots, and also protect them from freezing as a result of prolonged frosts. Autumn tillage around the apple tree includes harvesting, digging the trunk circle and mulching the soil.
Autumn soil care around the apple tree begins with the mandatory cleaning of the trunk circle. Fallen foliage and fruits damaged by rot or insects accumulate here, which may contain larvae of pests or spores of the fungus. In such a favorable environment, they will successfully endure winter, and with the onset of spring they will begin to breed on the apple tree, causing tree diseases.
The rules for autumn harvesting around the trunk are listed below:
- After the end of leaf fall, all fallen leaves, fruits, pieces of bark and sections of dry branches are removed from the area of the near-trunk circle.
- Foliage and the fallen fruits of a healthy apple tree can be used to make compost - for this they are stacked and sprinkled with a small amount of lime.
- Fallen leaves and tree branches can be burned outside the site, and the resulting ash can be used as potash fertilizer.
- When garbage is collected around an apple tree that has undergone disease or an attack of pests, it is taken out of the garden and destroyed.
Did you know? Apples do not sink in containers with water due to the fact that their flesh is 25% air.
This procedure helps to make the soil more loose, saturates it well with air and facilitates the movement of insect larvae wintering in the ground and fungal spores to the surface, where they later die from frost.
Here are some tips for conducting an autumn digging of the soil around the apple tree:
- Loosening of the soil in the region of the near-trunk circle is recommended in the second half of September, while the earth has not yet hardened from the cold.
- In order not to injure the roots of the tree, this action is best carried out using a pitchfork.
- It is recommended to dig the earth after rain or watering - at this time it is the mildest.
- During the procedure, forks near the trunk should be placed along the roots of the tree - this will help reduce the risk of damage.
- It is recommended to dig the soil around the trunk to a depth of about 15 cm.
- Large clods of earth formed during digging should be left intact - they better retain the moisture necessary for the roots.
- In addition to the near-trunk circle, it is recommended to dig the soil outside the crown of the apple tree - here, the depth of digging can be about 25-30 cm.
The final stage of autumn soil care around apple trees is the mulching of the trunk circle. The procedure helps to keep the soil moist and loose for longer, protects the roots of the tree from frost even in the absence of snow cover and supplies the soil with additional nutrients. Covering the area of the trunk circle with a layer of mulch is recommended around the end of September.
The basic rules for mulching the soil around the apple tree are listed below:
- The procedure is carried out after the last watering and fertilizing in the soil near the trunk.
- As mulch, you can use rotted manure, sawdust, pine bark, peat, humus, compost and even thin sheets of plywood.
- The layer thickness should be about 10-15 cm.
- In the spring, the mulch layer needs to be removed immediately after the start of snow melting - this will contribute to faster heating of the earth.
Autumn top dressing of apple trees
After harvesting, the apple tree is significantly depleted and lacks nutrients, so it needs to be fed.
In autumn, it is recommended to apply fertilizers containing potassium and phosphorus to the soil around the trunk - they strengthen the immunity of the tree, and also stimulate an increase in yield. At the same time, you can use store-bought complex fertilizers or prepare them yourself.
Video: autumn top dressing of apple trees
Autumn top dressing of an apple tree should be carried out according to the following rules:
- It is best to apply fertilizers in liquid form along with watering - so they are quickly absorbed by the roots of the tree.
- Top dressing is carried out at the beginning of September or after the leaves fall completely, but no later than 3-4 weeks before the first frosts.
- For watering 1 m² of area you need to dissolve 2 tbsp. l phosphoric and 1 tbsp. potassium fertilizer in 10 liters of water.
- In autumn, apple trees cannot be fed with nitrogen fertilizers - this will cause an active growth of shoots and their freezing during the onset of frost.
- To increase the frost resistance of a tree, it is watered with a solution of superphosphate (30 g of substance per 1 liter of liquid).
- Instead of potash-phosphorus fertilizers, humus or compost in the amount of 4-8 kg per 1 m² can be added.
Harvesting and harvesting apples for the winter
There are many varieties of apple trees, each of which is characterized by its own ripening fruit. Accordingly, ripe apples can be harvested starting in August and ending in mid-October.
The ripening of fruits is evidenced by such signs:
- the peel of the fruit acquires the characteristic color specified in the description of a particular variety;
- the flesh becomes as juicy and soft as possible, and its taste corresponds to the characteristics of ripe fruits of this variety;
- some fruits begin to fall to the ground - while they should not have signs of rot or signs of pest damage.
Important! If there is a lack of moisture in the soil 3 weeks before the planned harvest, water-loading irrigation is carried out - about 6 buckets of water are poured under each adult apple tree.
The timing of the start of preparation of the tree for winter largely depends on weather conditions and climate characteristics of a particular region. For example, in the Moscow Region, winter comes relatively early, so you need to prepare the trees for the onset of cold weather already in September. The most important rule is to complete all necessary activities before the first frost.
Video: how to properly prepare fruit trees for winter
The basic rules for collecting and storing ripe apples are listed below:
- The fruits are removed from the tree in dry and sunny weather - in such conditions they do not absorb moisture from the air, and their peel remains elastic longer.
- It is recommended to pick fruit in a slightly unripe state - ripe flesh is more friable, therefore it is stored worse.
- Fruits are removed from the tree manually, and then neatly stack them in wooden or plastic containers.
- You can not throw the fruit or damage the integrity of their peel - such apples will quickly deteriorate and become unsuitable for storage.
- Fruits are recommended to be collected together with the stem - to separate it from the tree, the apple is carefully rotated clockwise, holding it by the tail.
- Partially spoiled and fallen to the ground fruits are immediately processed for jam or juice, and only apples of the correct form are selected for storage without damage.
- To increase the shelf life of the fruit, each of them is wrapped in paper and placed in containers with the stalks up.
- Shelf life of the harvest depends on the characteristics of a particular variety, but apples are stored for the longest time in a dark and cool basement with good ventilation or in the refrigerator.
Proper care of the apple tree in the fall helps to keep it healthy and increase crop yields. Using the recommendations listed in our article, you can prepare the tree for the winter period, as well as help it regain strength until next spring - then it will certainly grow well and bear fruit regularly.