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 Introduction Hello! 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:46 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Ontario, Canada (zone5b)
Post Introduction Hello!
Hello, I have recently purchased an 11 acre farm with a small apple orchard on it there are 3 stagered rows 16 trees total a variety of different apples. The trees i'm guessing are between 10 to 15 years old dwarf varieties. I know I have a few that are mac-cross, and 1 golden russet and a ton of coding moths!... this is the first site i have read about apple covers i think i might give this a try.

Another concern i have is there is an old possible crap apple tree with some dead parts in another corner of the farm 50 ft from the orchard covered in apples/worm holes... Do you think this tree would be salvagable or is it possiby a host site for the moths to dwell before they come to raid my orchard?

there doesn't seem to be so many apples in the orchard :shock: but i guess that would go in hand with the fact the trees haven't been prunned recently? Is my orchard salvagable????


Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:21 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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10 to 15 year old trees are ideal to work with! Have they grown 'into' each other, or still far enough apart that they don’t touch?

...I'm no codling moth expert, but some around here are; I'd wait for their advice...

...and I suspect you meant 'crab apple tree' - though your name may be more accurate :roll: Yah, you want those dead limbs removed, on any tree. And "covered in apples/worm holes" -- do you mean holes it the trees bark, or its fruit/apples? Holes in the bark (around here) are usually sapsucker (woodpecker) work, and that's a "sticky," if tricky subject... If there're holes in the fruit, it’s likely the codling moths again ~

Crab apple trees are generally great pollinators, but with your multitude of varieties (cultivars) you likely don't need more pollen. Some people make jellies from crab apples; and I'd hate to suggest removing any apple tree.

Yes, pruning really helps; it ‘scares’ them into putting their energy into fruit (seed) production as opposed to competitive upward growth. And it allows sun to hit the fruiting limbs.

Your trees sound plenty salvageable to me! Far better than starting from scratch, and when you get a handle on them, and figure out which varieties you don't like - you can graft them over to something else (in the apple family)! And if you're not careful - you'll turn into something like us -- nuts about fruit!

Welcome aboard, and watch for some codling moth suggestions - just not from me...

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Temperate Orchard Convservancy: http://www.temperateorchardconservancy.org/index.php


Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:03 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:46 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Ontario, Canada (zone5b)
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Hi Viron...few thanks for your reply! LOL I did mean Crab ! thank you for correcting me. It is my uneducated guess i have codding moths there are holes in alot of the apples not the actual tree.

looking closely at the trees they have been prunned in the past how long ago i am unsure. But there are not very many apples are they are small. The Golden russet seems to have a different problem from the others all it's apples have a slit or slash in them?

But that is great there is hope for my little orchard i'm already in love with it and devouring any apple book i find.

Is grafting difficult should it only be left to an expert?

thanks !


Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:54 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:54 am
Posts: 88
Location: Essex, England Zone 8
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Welcome, sounds like a great place and opportunity. I've never done it myself but I have friends that graft at home, they say it's pretty easy. I'm sure there are more than a few grafters here too.

I think the largest single reference work on apples is:

"The New Book of Apples" by Dr Joan Morgan


Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:50 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Caught me right here :shock: ...Once you start 'cleaning up' the orchard, raking and pruning... there will be less places for 'the bugs' to over-winter / hide. You've time to learn what's attacking the fruit, fruit returns. If something was boring into the trees - that's different! ...and I'm still waiting for any coddling moth suggestions... But like nearly anything - you can always search the net!

If the trees have been pruned, great! You can usually look at their most leggy growth and follow it back to a main 'scaffold limb.' Saw it there. The trees are likely out of balance with all that un-checked growth, and after pruning them they'll send up lots and lots of 'water sucker' shoots the following spring. But those are easy to recognize and snap or snip off, either while growing or while dormant pruning. I'd love to climb into one of those trees, and for neighbors, I have. Is that crazy or what? They sound perfect for renovation and should turn into works of art. You might, as time allows, search back within our topics here ... lots of good info and suggestions, and in my case - I wouldn't be repeating myself.

And maybe someone around here's also familiar with those "slits or slashes" on your Golden russets..? Some apples will 'crack,' but I'd best not confuse either of us with my first guess.

And you're in love with your orchard... I know the feeling … it's making me smile, they become like children.

"Is grafting difficult should it only be left to an expert?" -- There are definitely techniques, but many around here have done it. We've all got recommendations, and if you get the desire to try it, let us know. What you have going are some excellent opportunities to learn. I suspect there will be apples of some variety you don't care for, thus you can saw off a limb, split it with an old knife, insert the 'scions' (different type of apple) and seal it up. It's like the next step in orchard care - orchard manipulation! And it's addictive! There's also a lot of good info online that shows and describes grafting; you'd likely be most interested in "Top working" existing trees. ...But you've plenty of time for that...

One note on pruning; since your trees are out of balance (too much upward growth in comparison to fruiting wood), ‘it's been described’ that taking off that newer growth while it still has leaves keeps the tree from adding to it root storage this winter. Tricky concept, but if you were to begin your 'salvage' work while the leaves were still on the trees: it shouldn't damage them, would let you get the jump on controlling them, and would actually help 'balance' them out so they wouldn't send up as many water-suckers next year (because you limited their nutrient store). I'd work on the most vigorous trees first, and by the time you got to the 'smaller trees,' it will be winter - and time to prune. …You're up North ... you might only remove the largest ‘straight up’ limbs back to their 'outward' branches, and save the 'fine pruning' till closer to Spring. More confused? Let me know... and, you're welcome.

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Temperate Orchard Convservancy: http://www.temperateorchardconservancy.org/index.php


Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:10 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 5:46 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Ontario, Canada (zone5b)
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Hi again,

thats exactly what i was wondering if I should start pruning back some now I can't wait to do something LOL. I got a really great book proabably you know of it The Apple Grower by Michael philips, I can't put it down! i have almost read the whole book in 2 days! it's an amazing book the writer has given me so much inspiration...now i have not grasped all the concepts but it has definately been encouraging. I have started by cleaning up the bad apples and i have thrown some mulch cover under about half the trees I feel to plant comfrey under them, maybe some herbs too i read on the ministry of agriculture site really smelly herbs i.e lavender, oregano ward off some insects/moths as well.

So do you think i should start with prunning back the water suckers this season? You said : "by the time you got to the 'smaller trees,' it will be winter - and time to prune". … Do you mean prune in the winter before the snow flys or after winter before the leaves start to come out?

For the Old Crab tree can i cut off the dead in any season or should most prunning be reserved for the dormant period?

hmm..The golden russet might be considered a crack? It seems all it's apples have the same mark. maybe i should take a pic can i upload pics in posts?... but it's definately not cracking because there sooo big or anything LOL there really small.

There is a local Organic Apple Orchard in another town close to where I live (I eat their apple butter) but admit i have not been to the orchard it's self but am looking forward to going over really soon and asking the owner for some pointers and maybe i could order supplies through him. i.e the sticky cards , or moth traps. It's a new owner in the last year.

I am really loving being a stuart of the land I wasn't even looking for land but when i seen this orchard it was love at first sight... and silly me i didn't even "know " the shape they were in so i am relieved i have something i can work with! I am intrigued by the idea of grafting and manipulating them this is going to be alot of fun, and such a great learning opportunity for me and my son.

I should probably take the time to read through past posts so as not to be repeating whats been discussed

thanks again Cheers


Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:41 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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This is fun :D "So do you think i should start with prunning back the water suckers this season?" -- I've learned you can 'remove' water suckers any season! The only reason I don't go at it now is that its hard to avoid tearing up 'good' leaves and knocking off fruit... but if you haven't much fruit, I don't see why you couldn't get started. Now, there is such a thing as sunscald, where too direct sunlight can damage the newly exposed bark on the topside of scaffold limbs. I've had that happen after removing decades of moss, about 3 inches thick, from the top of such limbs on much older trees. ... But it's nearly September, and you're further north... I'd start the process.

"You said: "by the time you got to the 'smaller trees,' it will be winter - and time to prune". … Do you mean prune in the winter before the snow flys or after winter before the leaves start to come out?" -- I was thinking about winter 'around here,' we can generally prune anytime, and some years we'll never see snow :( But the main reason for holding off on your 'fine pruning' until early spring is took keep the buds you're aiming (with the fresh cut right next to them) from being killed by cold. If you were to have serious dieback after pruning, who knows where the surviving buds would head. And, you never want dead wood in the trees, especially the multitude of little stubs you'd have on the tree tips. My suggestion was to begin removing the obviously overgrown portions on the most vigorous trees now, and leave the fine, or 'bud-aiming' cuts to late winter (after snow).

You can, and should remove dead wood any time. And I've learned there's no reason to paint over the 'wound.' Sealing compounds only trap moisture against the wound; nature will likely grow right around it.

"can i upload pics in posts?" -- Yes, but don't ask me how... actually, linking them to somewhere like photobucket works, just don't choose the largest formant or they spread our page too wide to comfortably read.

I believe there's a calcium deficiency responsible for cracks in the 'Cox Orange Pippin,' or russeting varieties; you might search that?

Good idea on the organic orchard connection, that's the direction most of us lean.

...And you're hooked! Excellent! But do search around for some fruit growing organizations near you, unfortunately (or fortunately), a lot of diseases are specific to regions; techniques, spray timing, and pruning too. But don't forget to keep us informed, and grafting's pretty-much grafting, but a hobby of mine :wink:

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Temperate Orchard Convservancy: http://www.temperateorchardconservancy.org/index.php


Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:35 pm
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