Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gardening Symposium - session four AND My Sick Apple Tree

Maintaining the Home Orchard was the last session of the day.  The most important points I brought away from this class were:

1) What fruit trees are tolerant in my area.
     pears - very tolerant
     apples - tolerant
     plums - tolerant
Any other fruit trees are not very tolerant, even though they are grown in home gardens.
2) Pruning/shaping the tree includes 4 areas:
     heading cuts - remove parts of branch, buds grow below
     thinning cuts - remove entire branch (recharges growth)
     branch spread/bend
     pinch off unwanted buds

3) Thinning - thinning increases yield. Leave a space equal to the distance between your thumb and pinkie apart.
You need to thin:
     apples - 4-5 weeks after petal fall, leave the "king" bloom, which is the first one that opens, the one in the middle. 
     pears - 7-9 weeks after petal fall, save middle one, or 4th one from the base.

We discussed pests and what to do about them.

This leads me into my second subject, my Braeburn apple tree Dale.
I became familiar with coddling moth larva this past spring (which caused me to lose my entire crop of nine apples), and unfortunately I just discovered borers in my tree trunk.  Probably Pacific Flathead Borer.  I tried to cut the dead wood away, and dug into the small holes to remove the borer larva.  I did manage to find a couple of the nasty little yellow things.  Then I squirted vegetable oil into the areas, which I read might help suffocate the larva. Anything might help, and it can't hurt. I am afraid I might lose the tree.  A lot of damage is at ground level. 

Braeburn Apple Tree - cleaned out hole where borer burrowed in

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