Apple trees are probably the most common fruit crop. Practically every yard had one or several apple trees.
Thus, they are self-sustaining, with a crop, and the gardener is sometimes satisfied with everything when suddenly he notices that his neighbor has the exact same variety on the same soil, of comparable age, but with a much larger yield.
The gardener began to study the reason and discovered that there was a special calendar, simply a list of basic tips for appletree care by month, which specifies what to do when.
APPLETREE CARE IN JANUARY
In January, when the trees are dormant, the first thing you can do in this cold month is to take out the rootstock of your apple tree from the basement, from the dug-up branches, for winter grafting.
It is also known as tabletop grafting or convenience grafting: sitting by yourself in a cozy room, preparing the seedlings.
What can be unfortunate in the garden in January? Of course, it is the wet snow that sticks to the shoots, especially the young ones, so you have to go out into the garden, gently knock the snow off the branches and sprinkle it with rat poison, otherwise your apple tree will die.
It’s great if you’ve been caring for and protecting the trunks from rodents since the fall – then it’s easier for you to do this.
If there is very little snow in your garden, try trampling it underfoot so it doesn’t melt and evaporate so quickly in the spring and soak into the soil, enriching the garden with moisture. In addition, the trampled snow prevents rodents from moving around the site.
For apple trees of thermophilic varieties, it is necessary to check the holes – whether they are covered, whether the wind has blown away the mulch and, if necessary, to correct them.
In January, it is worth paying more attention to young apple trees planted in autumn. Their shoots are very thin and fragile, and even a small amount of snow falling on them can cause breakage.
Therefore, walk around the orchard and gently pat the snow from the shoots. Sometimes young shoots even have their tips bent under the weight of snow – the snow on the tips of young shoots should also be removed.
APPLETREE CARE IN FEBRUARY
In February, the forced dormancy of the trees continues and gardeners continue to work on grafting.
But in the process of taking up grafting, the apple trees on the plot should of course not be forgotten: wet, heavy, and sticky snow may fall, which also needs to be shaken off, and new poisonous bait should be placed to keep rodents away.
In February, in addition to sticky snow, there is often freezing rain, which is beautiful – the trees are like out of a fairy tale, bound by ice, as if in silver, but this miracle is very dangerous because the branches break very easily under the weight of heavy ice.
Dealing with this plague is difficult – you can try tapping the branches gently with a stick and maybe a piece of ice will fall off, but it is better to wait for a thaw, even a short one, and try shaking the plant and maybe you will manage to free the apple tree from its ice shell.
Also in February, you can work to break the crust (compacted snow layer) on which rodents move freely and from there, as from a mirror, the sunlight is reflected and burns the trunk.
This is a beneficial activity; it also promotes snow retention if it can be trampled. In February, if no freezing rain is predicted, you can go ahead and paint the trunks and branches white; choose a good day to do this work.
At the end of the month, you are ready to start pruning your apple trees. Usually, both sanitary and formative pruning can be done during this off-season, but be sure to remove shoots in a circular pattern and cover the cuttings with hot garden varnish.
It is also during this time that you can prepare your apple trees for spring mating by taking cuttings and placing them in the snow or in the refrigerator.
APPLETREE CARE IN MARCH
Apple trees are usually still resting during this month, but slowly approaching the beginning of March when the sap begins to flow and the buds start to swell. During this time, it is safe to continue grafting in the comfort of your home and go out into the garden to prune – following all the rules.
The trouble in March can be the frequent changes of positive and negative temperatures, which can even expose the soil around the stump, which is especially dangerous for young seedlings, as there can be strong frosts at night and the roots are likely to freeze.
To avoid this, throw snow on the bare part of the stump during the day and compact it – if we do this again, we will not go wrong.
Walk around the orchard and carefully examine the young apple trees you planted back in the fall; there may be broken shoots that need to be removed immediately. Any damage to the trunk and shoots should be painted with garden paint or garden varnish.
Sunburn is common in March, so it is best to paint the trunk of apple trees white down to the skeletal limbs. Try to choose a period when there is no rain to paint, otherwise, the rain will clear and you will have to paint again.
In the middle or end of March, depending on the arrival of the real spring, there will be very heavy snowmelt and if your garden is even on a small slope, the roots will be washed away by water.
With this in mind, you need to build drainage channels or, if the site cannot have abundant water during the growing season, dig holes as deep as a shovel’s bayonet where the meltwater can accumulate.
Pay attention to the canopy, if you didn’t do so in the fall and winter: all mummified fruits urgently need to be collected and burned, as they can become a breeding ground for pests and diseases.
In March, you can give the plants their first spray with a 1% Bordeaux mixture as a preventive measure.
APPLETREE CARE IN APRIL
It is already spring, apple trees are actively waking up and their buds are increasing every day. During this time, you can safely start planting the most different varieties of apple trees on your plot and nothing bad can happen to them already.
However, if you postpone planting, the buds open, revealing green cones, and the seedlings may not root, or become sick for a long time.
At the end of April, we enter the grafting period, i.e. grafting with cuttings. During this period, the active sap begins to flow, and if you make a diagonal cut in the rootstock and rootstock and run your finger over the cut, you will feel an abundance of water.
During this period, it is safe to mate. The main thing is not to graft in cold weather below 41°F (5°C) and when it is raining, and the rootstock should always be sealed with garden varnish.
If snow is left on the branches, it can be removed as moss and lichen may start to grow under the snow, which is absolutely unnecessary for apple trees.
If you have made a tree hole for winter insulation, the soil should be carefully shoveled off so that the root neck is at the level of the soil.
At the beginning of April, it is time to finish pruning your apple trees, but if you find dry, broken shoots and those that have grown deep into the canopy, which will certainly cause them to thicken, or shoot competitors, you can remove them.
Just be sure to cut on the “ring” and make sure to insulate the cut with garden varnish.
In addition to the grafting we’ve already told you about, you can also do regrafting. Suppose you have an old apple tree on your plot and you don’t like its fruit, but the tree often sends out wavy shoots.
So, graft a pair or three of wavy plugs onto your favorite variety by a modified symbiosis method, remove the remaining wavy (also in the ring) and isolate the cut with garden varnish.
The grafted plugs will multiply horizontally into young shoots that will soon bear fruit to your taste.
Don’t forget to check the garden from time to time. For example, if you find a cavity, use a sharp garden knife to scrape it back to healthy tissue and simply glue it back into place, thus keeping the tree nice and lively (like a filling).
In April, as long as there is enough moisture in the soil to provide more nutrients to the apple tree; this can be combined with three important measures: first, loosening the soil to loosen the crust.
Second, pour a tablespoon of nitroglycerin for each tree over 5 years old and half that amount for trees under 5 years old; third, cover the root zone with a few inches of humus.
April is also a monthly builder: notice that an apple tree has a dozen wolves, that is, shoots growing vertically, select five of them, cut the rest on a ring and bend the rest in different directions at an angle close to 90 degrees, but be careful not to break them.
For this purpose, it is best to use twine. Put a rubber band under the twine and fix the twine to the branch or stake below. At the end of the year, this branch will grow in the right direction and the next year will bear the first crop of fruit.
At the end of April, the young tree will “fail” in the planting hole, and this problem must be solved urgently: lift the tree slightly, fill it with a layer of nutrient soil underneath, then compact and level everything.
Don’t forget about the birds, there is not much food yet, and bird feeders are good for them in April.
In April, before the buds bloom, you can treat the apple trees with chemicals to prevent winter parasites.
APPLETREE CARE IN MAY
A favorite month for many, when everything is really waking up, living, blossoming, enjoying life, and the leaves whispering.
During this month it is necessary to control some diseases, pests, and mites, all at night, to wear protective equipment, to do everything strictly according to the instructions on the package, and to use only those medications that are allowed in the current season.
It is not uncommon for apple trees to return in May when the bird cherry blossoms are in bloom; frost may kill most of the blossoms and leave you with no harvest.
The best option is to build a fire around the plot boundaries, but this must be done under strict agreement with neighbors and in your own presence, without leaving the fire unattended.
Don’t forget to untie the rootstocks of your apple trees, water them, and remove weeds. Usually, you should water the trees first, using a few buckets of water each week, then pull weeds by hand on the wet soil and loosen the soil before applying fertilizer.
At this point, you can use calcium superphosphate (10-15 grams) and potassium sulfate (8-10 grams) under each plant. Next, still cover the soil with a few inches of humus.
It is best to apply several other treatments with 1% Bordeaux mixture during bud bloom and after flowering, and to dress the apple plants with a fungicide a few days after the second treatment – but strictly after flowering.
In a small garden with only ten trees, you can simply hang pheromone traps on the plots and traps (dry, adhesive, toxic – it doesn’t matter) on the trunks of the trees.
You can continue planting apple trees at the end of May as well, but only apple trees with closed root systems should be planted at this time of year, otherwise, they will most likely not root, no matter how much you water them.
In mid-May, the apple trees can be cleaned of old bark and lichen. To do this, first, inspect carefully with a wooden scraper, then treat the area where you scraped off the bark with 1% Bordeaux mixture, leave it to dry, and then isolate it with garden varnish.
APPLETREE CARE IN JUNE
In June, there is the massive scattering wilt that every gardener knows about; it is a perfectly normal biological phenomenon that you need not fear, but if an apple tree has enough water, food, and light and is not infected by tree moths, there will be much less scattering wilt than usual.
In June, a return frost is also possible; generally, it is significantly less intense than in May, however, it is still possible and necessary to smolder the periphery of the plot if neighbors do not mind.
In June, disease and pest outbreaks can be observed again, in which case, acting according to an old and tried plan – at night, wearing protective clothing, you must treat the apple trees – to prevent fungal infections, pests, and mites.
Before carrying out the treatment, pay attention to the expiration date of the preparations, because some of them can no longer be used because they have expired, which means that some toxic substances may remain in/on the fruit. You should choose the safest one.
In June, it is not uncommon to see the death of plugs that have not been successfully grafted.
This is because we may not have made a close enough match between scion and rootstock, we may not have lubricated the rootstock with sowing wax, we may have grafted the plugs in cold or rainy weather, or we may have used plugs with flower buds.
Greening efforts: First here, continue to prune the apple trees for green shoots that will likely no longer have time to mature and bend the vertical branches to an angle closer to 900.
Aphids may also appear of their own accord; they can be fought indefinitely, using insecticides, but it is best to eliminate the ants that spread it all at once; there are now many means of eliminating ants.
When you have time, walk around your garden again, perhaps noticing cracks that need to be filled, hollow trees that need to be repaired, or broken branches that need to be sawed off; the cuts should be sealed with garden varnish.
Don’t forget to weed and water. Although June is not as hot as July, it is still important to water at least once a week, when you pour a bucket of water under each apple tree. Water is especially needed after flowering when the ovaries accumulate.
During this period, you can feed your plants with potassium sulfate by dissolving 15 grams of this fertilizer in a bucket of water and pouring it under each tree, while calcium superphosphate has low solubility in water and can simply be poured into previously loosened soil at a rate of 5-6 grams per tree up to 5 years old and twice that amount for older trees.
Don’t forget to check and replace new pheromone traps and trapping strips, otherwise, they will become so full that they will lose all meaning for pests.
APPLETREE CARE IN JULY
July is the hottest month of summer, during which you can even water daily, if there is no rain, by pouring a bucket of water in the previously loosened soil under each apple tree.
By the way, in July you need to actively eliminate weeds because they are real competitors. If the apple tree is more than 5 years old grass can be trimmed, and in the growing bed of young plants, it is better to weed by hand.
It is important to know that in July apple trees are actively growing, therefore, generated buds are forming, which will bring next year’s crop, therefore, the plant should not be deficient in either water or nutrients, but you can not apply pure nitrogen fertilizer.
The maximum is nitroglycerin, 15 grams per plant over 5 years old dissolved in a bucket of water, the younger plants are half the amount.
A less active but still second wave of sap flow begins around July 15, when people start grafting buds of various species onto rootstocks.
This is exactly the time you can take advantage of: if the apple trees grafted in the spring have not rooted, then graft them. The easiest way to do this is to make a “T” shaped cut and place the buds there, as if in a pocket.
In July, pests and diseases reappear on the apple trees and again special care needs to be taken with pest protection, only if conditions still allow it, as apples of early varieties can start to ripen in July.
Otherwise, it is the same as in June: renewing trap strips, finding and eliminating hollows, weeding, watering, and putting slings under the branches of the apple trees to support the heavy branches with the harvest.
APPLETREE CARE IN AUGUST
Soon it’s autumn, and outside the window in August, for some reason, it immediately becomes sad: how can it be, a whole month of heat, but no – and it’s already cold at night, and those caught in the rain don’t dry out in a few minutes, as they did in July.
In August, the growth of apple tree buds slowed down and began to harden. All shots that are still growing should be pruned, otherwise, they will not mature into winter and will freeze to death.
Fruits start to ripen actively on the tree. Once again, it may seem like a small but very important thing to check that the supports are standing under the most overloaded shoots of the harvest.
During this period, serious chemicals for pest control on apple trees should be abandoned, because the waiting period between treatment and consumption of the fruit by this means is too long, although treatment with biological insecticides is still possible.
Do not forget to replace the Pheromone trap and clean it more often.
Early varieties of apples are ripe and it’s time to harvest them. They don’t usually keep for long, but in order to lay them at least for a while, be sure to pick them with the stems, literally twist them, and put them in, rather than throwing them in a plastic bucket. Wear gloves when picking.
After picking all the harvest from the apple trees of the early varieties, loosen the soil under the trees, remove all weeds and apply 12-15 g of potassium sulfate and 18-20 g of calcium superphosphate.
APPLETREE CARE IN SEPTEMBER
Apples of medium varieties ripen in this month, in fact, all the work in September echoes that of August, the only difference being that the apples harvested in September, in general, are left for a longer period of time, and therefore their removal should be handled with greater care.
The fertilization norms are the same for medium varieties after eating, but by carrying out water, the amount of irrigation can be doubled, because winter is getting closer and closer, and the water reserves in the soil are necessary for the apple trees to pass the winter with dignity.
In addition to the harvest, September is a good time to select and plant apple seedlings. We recommend buying only from nurseries in your area and planting them exactly according to the rules so that you will not have any problems planting apple trees on your plot.
APPLETREE CARE IN OCTOBER
We remove late-ripening varieties of apples, here you need to be as careful as possible, any damage will cause the apples to spoil, they will start to rot, but it is noted that late-ripening varieties of apples only fully open their taste qualities after a period of storage.
In the meantime, leaves begin to fall and should be collected and burned outside the house to avoid contamination from fallen leaves.
In late October, try to check the crowns of all fruit trees on your property, which should be free of fruit – pick each one and burn it if it is spoiled – this is an obvious vector for infection.
Do the same with all plant debris on the grounds – in the spring you may not have time to do everything properly as it is a fleeting time, better to do it now when there is more free time, it is not very cold and there is no snow.
At the end of October, a teaspoon of potassium sulfate and calcium superphosphate should be applied to the soil under each apple tree, which has been previously loosened and watered with a bucket of water, and then covered with a layer of humus several inches thick.
APPLETREE CARE IN NOVEMBER
The apple trees start to settle down and here and there leaves fall off that can be collected and burned. If you haven’t installed rodent-proof nets, you can do so now. In addition to nets, you can put up sturdy fences or spread the poison.
You can put in the work of removing all the props on which the crops once depended. By the way, they will last longer if you just give them a coat of waterproof varnish.
At the end of November, you can paint the plants white with breathing acrylic paint until the first skeletal branch.
APPLETREE CARE IN DECEMBER
Apple trees are at rest and only rodents can harm them now, so go out into the orchard and spread poisonous bait.
You can put a little extra snow on the seedlings to keep them warm or wrap them in fir lapels to protect them from freezing rain.
In December, when you have some free time, you can tamp down the snow, which will prevent it from blowing around and save moisture in the soil.
Here is the whole calendar of apple tree care. As you can see, every month you can find a kind of work, go to the garden and spend a few hours doing something very useful, and then your apple trees will give you a magnificent harvest.