I would like to plant an apple tree for my husband. He always talks about one that he used to get apples from when he was a kid. What is a good one to plant that you can eat apples right off the branch? Also, what is the upkeep of one? Getting rid of worms etc. He never wanted to plant one of our own because of bees. But we don't have any little kids anymore living at home.
Haley from Centreville, Md
we live in town now but when we lived in the mountains about 15 miles from town and we planted golden delious appple trees we bought from burgess catalog. the trees were about 3 yr old that we planted we lived there about 8 years and in the sixth year they were about 7 foot tall and started baring fruit after 3 years. we planted 4 of the same trees and done done good until some type bug killed three of them with blite. even though i seven dusted them they never did bare again good because i guess it takes at least 2 of the same trees to cross polinate. i think you have to have two near eachother so they can cross polinate to thrive good, at least thats what i have heard. when we moved to twon i planted a indian peach tree in honor of my mothers name but its not done well. not sure if it was because it had nothing to cross polinate with or what. its been in my yard for 9 years and the growth of the tree is dwarfish even though its not a dwarf type. it took 2 years to bare fruit but then it was full just small pit peaches and each year there after barely baring fruit. we are in eastern tenn zone.
I think we are in similar temperature zones. My ultimate favorite for fresh eating and making pie filling is the Vista Bella. It is not common, so you will have to hunt, or I can send cuttings for grafting. It comes on in early August and is sweet/tart and keeps its texture in a pie like nobody's business. They don't hold very long, though. Two weeks is about their limit.
I forgot the upkeep part. We take a 2 liter pop bottle, put in a banana peel, then mix a cup of vinegar and a cup of sugar and add that to the banana peel. Now top the bottle off with water and hang it up in the branches of the tree. It doesn't get them all, but it sure does a good job without poison.
I would suggest contacting your local Extension Agent (look in the phone book) or the nearest University with an agriculture department to get some ideas about which variety will grow best in your area and the best tasting. You can probably do this all online. About the bees - you WANT them. You will only see bees during pollination and they don't want to sting you. If you are worried about wasps, make sure and pick up any fruit that falls on the ground.
Your extension agent can give you the best advice for your area. You probably want to plant 2 trees of different kinds, and at least 10 or 15 feet from your neighbor's lot line. I'd be happy about getting bees, as long as they aren't the africanized ones. I don't think they're as far north as Maryland yet.
Try to get a variety that self-pollinates, prepare for seven years before allowing it to fruit, so that it becomes strong and able to survive on it's own. Keep crossed stems cut away from each other, look for a dwarf variety, prune very little, feed a little Boron each year around drip line, worry more about tent caterpillars than bees which are beneficial AFTER the fifth to seventh year, spraying with BT before first leafing out for the caterpillars.
Do not pull/prune fruit off that clump of first fruits, because not all of them will survive anyway. Make certain that your soil is well drained, that the tree has plenty of fresh air, that aphids aren't on the new growth, that there is a birdbath full of water nearby to discourage squirrels from stealing the apples, in the fifth-seventh year, because they are thirsty, says Jerry Baker, Master Gardener.
I believe that having two ten feet apart, regardless of self-pollination, is best because they don't alway produce a lot of apples. The fruit get borers if not sprayed at the
time your area expects borers. I try to keep my tree pruned out to allow for easier access to fruit, but it tends to want to grow taller than described when bought. I fertilize
with rabbit droppings since I have two house bunnies, with coffee grounds (only in Spring because it produces leaves mostly), banana peelings because it's partially supporting a rambling rose bush with long runners which likes the potassium from the chopped banana peelings.
I live in N. Texas, so there is only one variety that does well here. When there is no extreme rain, the fruit is just fantastic, but if rain, it rots and falls off in great disappointment. This year I have tried to place compost all around the drip line, as well, and because I noticed Stink
bugs occasionally on it, I decided to wrap each remaining
fruit in the toe of old sheer stockings, securing with twist tie. I have also hung rubber snakes on the tree branches, which seems to have discouraged the birds that used to get the ripe fruit first.
Make certain it's planted in a HUGE FERTILE HOLE and in FULL SUNLIGHT, noting the fact that it will become about 15 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide. This is all I know.
When the fruit is set, it's just wonderful, but we have a lot of rain that I hope you do not. If I had known what I know now, I would have given the hole better drainage, just in case. At first I thought the tree would NEVER produce fruit, because I was impatient and wanted to let the tiny fruit it produced in the first seven years to grow larger.
However, I read that it is CRITICAL to remove all fruit off the tree for five to seven years, in order for the tree to concentrate on a strong root system.
If you can afford it, invest in a couple of the largest nets made for fruit trees to prevent birds from nesting and taking fruit. However, the tree will grow WAY too many leaves if you give it too much nitrogen, so buy only fruit
tree fertilizer and add a tiny amount of Boron around drip line in the Spring, as I mentioned before.
Not many folks in the South know much about apple tree growing, so I have had a very hard time modifying information I've gathered, to suit this climate. Yet, by not rushing the tree into fruiting, it's VERY healthy, doesn't have too many leaves, produces fruit when not drowned out, and all's well with the world otherwise. God bless you. : )
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