Features of apple growing technology
Most varieties of apple trees are not very demanding on growing conditions and seasonal care, so the general rules for growing these fruit trees will be relevant for any representative of the culture. What exactly is worth knowing about seasonal care of these plants in order to achieve maximum fruiting, and how to best propagate apple trees - read this article.
Features of seasonal apple care
For experienced gardeners, caring for an apple orchard is a common thing that does not cause any difficulties. By and large, there is really nothing complicated in growing fruit trees, the main thing is to take into account the seasonality of certain works.
With the advent of spring, trees need sufficient top dressing, protection from pests and whitewashing of trunks, although sanitary pruning of trees with the removal of frozen and damaged shoots will be no less relevant. Of course, each action has its own characteristics, which will be discussed later.
Did you know? The heaviest apple in the world grew in the garden of Japanese agronomist Chisato Iwasagi, who in 2005 introduced the world to a fruit weighing 1.85 kg.
Spring whitewashing of trees is carried out in order to protect them from sudden temperature changes, which are still possible in early spring. Without it, the bark on the trunk and shoots can crack, after which pathogens and pests fall under it. In addition, whitewashed trunks are no longer so attractive to rodents and some other pests, which is an additional advantage of the procedure.The most common version of the working solution for spring whitewashing is a mixture of 1 kg of lime, 8 l of water and 200 g of copper or iron sulfate, which will serve as additional protection against pests and diseases. Alternatively, a combination of chalk (2 kg), water (10 l) is used and clay (200 g), which, after thorough stirring, is infused for two hours, and then applied to the tree trunk. From ready-made mixtures for whitewashing apple trees, water-based or acrylic paints can be used that perfectly protect trees from spores from entering fungi and small pests.
Important! Lime is very easily washed off by rain, so it is likely that it will be necessary to whiten apple trees 2-3 times per spring.
Performing the procedure, always apply the selected composition in the direction from the bottom up, moving slowly to the first skeletal shoots (they should also be captured). It is better not to whiten young specimens, since there is a high probability of a plant getting burns. A good substitute for an aggressive substance is ordinary chalk, which must be diluted in water to the consistency of thick sour cream.
The first spring feeding of apple trees is usually carried out in April, using complex mineral compositions for this. It is most convenient to use granular preparations, which are embedded in the soil around the perimeter of the trunk circle, to a depth of about 15–20 cm. On depleted soils, the use of organics will be useful. In this case, at least 5 buckets of humus or 500 g of urea uniformly embedded in the substrate will be required for one trunk-tree circle of an adult tree.Fertilizers for the apple tree must be applied, observing all agricultural standards. Exceeding dosages, just like a lack of nutrients, has a detrimental effect on fruit crops: it leads to diseases, reduces resistance to pests, negatively affects fruiting It is not worth scattering organic matter on the surface of the soil: fertilizers will either be washed away by melt water or they will be overgrown with grass.If the crown is underdeveloped or in a depressed state, at the beginning of flowering, they can be fertilized with a mixture of mullein (10 l), superphosphate (300 g) and water (5 l), which is added to the plants after a week of infusion.
In late spring, the apple tree is additionally fertilized with phosphorus-potassium preparations that can accelerate the appearance of flower buds and thereby increase the yield of the crop. Do not forget that young seedlings more than adult apple trees need nutrients, so in the spring they are fed several times, with a break of 2 weeks. This contributes to the active growth and formation of the crown of the correct form. Any fertilizer is best applied after the next watering, performed regularly 1 time in 2 weeks, or based on the level of drying of the earth in the near-stem circle.
Video: feeding apple trees
Autumn care for apple trees (including young ones) is based on competent pruning, pre-winter clearing of the plot, water-charging irrigation, and some other measures aimed at preparing the plant for wintering. Consider the features of each individual action.
The first pruning of the apple tree is carried out immediately after planting a tree in an open area and provides for the formation of skeletal shoots with the removal of excess lateral growth. Usually, young branches calmly tolerate such an intervention, but when it comes to thicker shoots, the restoration of the apple tree may take longer.
Important! When performing sanitary pruning, it is impossible to cut shrunken branches near the tree trunk itself, otherwise the remaining knot may soon fall out, and the hole from it will very quickly transform into a hollow, sometimes causing the tree to die.
The autumn trim scheme provides for the following successive steps:
- First, large, broken and dried branches are cut.
- The weakest of those that touch each other during growth are cut out behind them.
- Then shoots growing at an acute angle to the trunk are removed.
- Damage caused by apple trees is covered with oily paint or garden varnish, and the collected branches are immediately burned.
There are 3 main types of autumn pruning:
- Weak - It is used only for young apple trees, when the branches grown over the past year are shortened by ¼ of their length. With the advent of spring, new shoots will begin to grow from them, forming a beautiful crown of a tree.
- Average - It is used for 5- or 7-year-old apple trees and consists in shortening thicker side shoots: strong branches are cut to 1/3 of their length.
- Strong - provides for the complete cutting of non-fruiting branches, so that the rest of the shoots receive more sunlight and develop better.
Video: how to prune an apple tree in the fall
Shaft trunks cleaning
Of all the above actions, the autumn cleaning of trunks is the easiest task. If during the season you regularly loosened the soil and cleaned weeds, now all that remains is to get rid of the fallen leaves and branches. Any plant debris can become a refuge for pests, which will certainly resume their activity after the winter.At the end of the garbage collection, you should dig the cleared soil onto the bayonet of the shovel and, carefully leveling the surface, leave it until spring
The frequency and intensity of watering apple trees depends on the age of the plant: young seedlings are watered more often (1 time per week), and adult specimens can be moistened 3-5 times over the entire season, pouring up to four buckets of water under one tree. On average, watering activities end in August, but in some cases, trees require autumn water-charging irrigation (for example, with prolonged drought). In this case, you will have to focus on the time of leaf fall in apple trees (for different varieties, these periods are different) and, if possible, extend the watering for a week, daily pouring 2 buckets of water under the trees.
Important! When watering dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees, water is always required less, since the root system of these apple trees passes close to the surface of the soil.
About 1–1.5 months before the alleged frost, watering is completely stopped, so that the rhizome of the apple tree does not suffer from sudden frost. With the correct execution of all actions, the soil will be moistened by 0.5 m, which is quite sufficient for both young and adult trees.For long-term preservation of moisture, you can mulch the surface of the trunk circle with sawdust or humus, laying them with a layer of about 5 cm
Disease and Pest Treatment
The simplest type of autumn processing of apple trees from diseases and pests is whitewashing trunks with lime in combination with copper sulfate and chalk, however, if the cultivated varieties are characterized by increased susceptibility to diseases and pests, then it is worth additionally spraying the trees with 3% Bordeaux liquid or 5-7% urea solution (diluted with water in accordance with the recommendations in the instructions).In the latter case, the treatment should be carried out only after falling leaves, trying to capture the area of the trunk circle and all branches of the plant
Top dressing before winter
The last pre-winter feeding of apple trees in the current season should be carried out using phosphorus-potassium compounds, minimizing the use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers (reduce the resistance of apple trees to frost). Compost, rotted manure or peat will be appropriate mainly for weakened apple trees, and even in small quantities: no more than 7–8 kg per tree trunk circle of an adult tree. If you wish, you can combine organics with mineral fertilizers by adding 50 g of superphosphate, 30 g of potassium mixtures and some wood ash to the indicated amount of peat or manure.Fertilizing is possible only on moist soil, therefore, before and after top dressing, the tree should be watered. In areas with high soil acidity, the application of lime, chalk, limestone or dolomite flour, but not more than 100-300 g per 1 m², will be no less useful. After mixing all of these ingredients, the finished fertilizer is embedded in holes pre-arranged around the perimeter, to a depth of 50 cm.
When the site is oversaturated with organic nutrients, for autumn top dressing, it is worth using only mineral compounds in the form of potassium sulfate and superphosphate (200-300 g per tree).
This top dressing is applied either in dry form, or additionally mixed with a small amount of water, so that later it can be poured into small indentations in different parts of the trunk circle. At the end of the procedure, it remains only to water the trees abundantly.Please note that the 10-year-old tree trunk circle reaches an area of 5 m²
Warming of the stem and root system, protection against rodents
The need for warming apple trees is determined based on the variety of the tree and the climatic conditions of its cultivation. Frost-resistant varieties planted in the middle zone of the Russian Federation usually do not need additional protection from the cold, which cannot be said about trees growing in the more northern regions: in the Urals and Siberia. In some cases, shelter with natural materials (for example, lapnik) is enough, and in others it is necessary to think about more serious protective materials in the form of spandex.The snow shelter also does not hurt, to create which, at the first snow, it needs to be heated on a tree trunk. So that the tree bark does not suffer from rodents, the trunk is wrapped with a fine mesh and treated with special repellents. Of the popular recipes, the most effective in this regard will be fish oil, ghee and black root decoction, which need to shed the soil around the trunk and the trunk of the apple tree itself.Do not use straw from crops as materials, so as not to attract rodents to the apple tree. Materials used by experienced gardeners: agricultural, burlap, old tights, roofing felt or lapnik. Do not use wire to avoid injuring tree bark
Apple tree breeding
Today, apple tree propagation is available in several ways at once, and the choice of a particular one depends more on the capabilities of a gardener. It’s easier for some to use options without vaccination, while others prefer this type of propagation of fruit trees, trying to get fruits with a new and unusual taste.
Did you know? The quality of the apple can be determined by the color of its pulp. Natural and not overfed with pesticides specimens quickly turn black when cut, while “chemically seasoned” varieties can retain the white color of the pulp for a long time.
How to propagate without vaccination
Among the main "non-grafting" methods for increasing the number of apple trees in the garden, sowing apple seeds, planting cuttings (including root), as well as the use of conventional and air cuttings of existing trees are distinguished.
Seed propagation can be relevant only when it comes to growing stocks or breeding new varieties of apple trees. In other cases, this is a very long and painstaking process, not worth the time spent. To obtain productive seeds, pollen from the flowers of one variety must be carefully transferred to the flowers of another using a soft brush. The seeds of the resulting apples are planted in separate boxes and wait for seedlings.In the future, apple trees should grow from them, combining the characteristics of both parental forms, even if not all of them will be pronounced. From the first time it is almost impossible to get the required tree, therefore, for growing apple trees in a seed way, you will have to be patient. Ordinary gardeners consider this an unnecessary waste of time, which is why they choose the method of cuttings.
Video: growing an apple from a seed
Rooting and further planting of green cuttings is the best solution for propagating the apple tree at home. With the comparative simplicity of the procedure, soon you can get a healthy, actively growing tree, so that the fruiting time will be shifted in a more favorable direction.The cuttings procedure begins with the correct harvesting of planting material - green cuttings. Annual shoots that cut from the tree before or immediately after the end of active sap flow, i.e. in early March or late November, are not bad for this role.
In general, the procedure for preparing planting material is as follows:
- Having chosen a strong and healthy annual sprout (it should have at least 5 buds), it needs to be cleaned of twigs and stems, and then cut a little at an angle.
- The resulting cuttings of the apple tree need to be rooted, and as soon as new roots appear on the slices - transplanted into growing in a pot with soil.
Video: rooting of green cuttings of apple tree
Harvesting of root cuttings begins with the advent of spring, simply cutting off 20-centimeter shoots from the branches of the rhizome, which already have their own root system. For several days, the planting material covered with sand is stored in the basement, and then transplanted into a greenhouse or a separate pot for growing.In the figure, the propagation of apple trees by root cuttings: 1 - the roots of the uterine plant; 2 - cutting root cuttings; 3 - root cuttings prepared for planting; 4 - a plant grown from root cuttings After 2 years, grown and matured seedlings will be ready for planting in the country. If the procedure is performed correctly, all seedlings obtained from an unvaccinated tree will be strong and healthy, and if necessary, they can be used for stocks and vaccinations.
Propagation of apple trees by layering is ideal for those cases when you need to get several varietal apple trees from one tree. To prepare planting stock, an annual tree is planted in autumn under a slope, and in spring its shoots are bent down and fastened near the ground, falling asleep with soil.The scheme of rooting apple tree cuttings During the entire summer season, the cuttings need to be watered abundantly, and before frosts it is good to warm it so that young roots do not freeze in winter. Next spring, it remains only to separate new plants from the mother tree and plant them in a separate place, while trying not to damage the small roots of the cuttings. Further care of the seedling is carried out according to the same scenario as for an adult tree.
Propagation of the apple tree by air layering provides for the rooting of individual branches above the soil surface, i.e. immediately on the mother tree. First of all, it is worth choosing the most suitable branch: smooth, healthy and fruiting. It is desirable that it is located on the sunny side and has a thickness of at least 1–1.5 cm (with a young growth).
With the advent of spring, immediately after the snow melts, a polyethylene sleeve about 40 cm long is put on a part of the selected shoot.The film "sleeve" on the shoot of an apple tree helps soften the bark
During the stay of the branch in greenhouse conditions, its bark softens and it will be possible to proceed to the second stage - incisions on the surface. The first of them is done at a distance of 10 cm from the border between the branch and young growth. It should be circular, with a width of not more than 1 cm. After this, it is necessary to step back a few centimeters to the left and right and make a couple more cuts on each side. In the future, they will contribute to a more active formation of the root system, the main thing: to remove all the kidneys located above them in a timely manner.
The resulting air lay is rooted in a tank with soil, using a plastic bottle with a trimmed bottom. Having tied the lower part of the film to the branch, they put it on top of it (down with the neck), making sure that the ringing point is practically at the very bottom of the bottle, and the young trunk is located in the middle of the container. The top of the sleeve is also tightly wrapped with electrical tape, after which the structure is left vertically, fixing to the trunk or to a separate supporting structure.The design of rooting the air layer includes a sleeve from the film, a bottle with a cut bottom and a substrate for food. To accelerate root formation at the air layers, a stimulating solution is poured into the bottle and left in this form for several days.After the allotted time has passed, the lower part of the plastic is punctured and the liquid is allowed to completely drain, and instead, several glasses of the prepared substrate, consisting of fine sawdust, moss, garden soil and compost, are poured into the bottle. Before use, the earth must be moistened.
Video: apple tree propagation by air layers
If the donor plant is on the sunny side of the site, then the finished structure should be shaded from the scorching sun, maintaining the increased humidity of the substrate in the bottle. Irrigation of cuttings is carried out once a week, and in the dry period - every other day.
Toward the end of August, the selected layering is cut in half, and even after 7 days it is cut from the lower side of the sleeve (a garden pruner is used) and planted on the site. It will be possible to remove the bottle structure only before the immediate planting of the seedling in the area, which is performed in spring or autumn.
If the previous methods of propagation of the apple tree for some reason did not suit you, then we suggest using one of the options for plant vaccination.
Important! If a bud after budding sprouts ahead of time, you will have to take care of its additional shelter for the duration of winter frost activity (the whole seedling is covered or instilled with the whole graft).
Inoculation with a bud in the butt
This method provides for the implementation of the vaccination procedure on the basis of the collection of the designer, in which the stock is considered the base, and the kidney is the main "detail".Budding in the butt: a - cutting strips of bark on a stock; b, c - shortening the strip of bark; d - insertion of the flap; d - tying the place of budding For starters, you should cut out part of the stock with approximate dimensions of 0.5 cm in depth and 2 cm in length, and remove the kidney with similar dimensions from the scion. Both parts can be connected using cambium, additionally fixing the place of inoculation with a bandage (in the direction from the bottom up, including the eye itself). The effectiveness of budding in the butt largely depends on the accuracy of the connection of the two parts.
Video: grafting an apple tree in the butt
In this case, cuttings of any thickness are equally suitable for performing the procedure. Part of the stock should be split crosswise or across to form a tissue split. It is in it that one or more cuttings are inserted, and on their lower part they make a slanting and long cut. In this case, only one part of the scion is in contact with the cambium, therefore, when performing the procedure, it is worth observing the utmost accuracy so as not to shift it.
Possible growing problems
When growing any fruit tree, the gardener can face a number of problems, so it is not surprising that the cultivation of apple trees sometimes raises questions. The most common difficulties in this case include:
- prolonged lack of fruiting (possible reasons - excessive deepening of the trunk during planting, vertical growth of branches, iron deficiency);
- apple beetle activity (the main symptoms are spoiling and withering of the ovaries, on which small holes are clearly visible);
- moth invasion (spoiled fruits quickly rot and fall from a tree);
- blackening of the middle of pure-looking apples (possible reasons: fusarium rot, lack of nutrients in the soil);
- decay of fruits right on the tree (usually associated with the development of fruit (bitter) rot, and if concentric folds densely strewn with white mushrooms are clearly visible on them, then we can talk about monilial rot);
- the appearance of black spots (often with cracks) on the leaves and fruits - The main symptom of scab;
- wrinkling apples during storage (often associated with a moisture deficit in them, so it will be useful to wipe the fruit with a rag dipped in a small amount of glycerin);
- exfoliation (usually this is the result of sunburn, frostbites or bark beetle activity).
Of course, this is not the whole list of possible problems of the apple tree, but in any case, if you change the appearance of the tree or its fruits, you will have to carefully understand the problem. This is the only way crop cultivation will bring the expected harvest of apples.
Tips from experienced gardeners
To obtain a plentiful harvest of apples when growing trees, it is worth observing certain rules, focusing on the development of the culture for months.
Experienced gardeners recommend:
- First of all, for planting a seedling, select only places that are sunny and sheltered from the cold winds, where a young tree will be comfortable all year round.
- When choosing self-fertile varieties, be sure to plant nearby the most suitable pollinating varieties, which will not be superfluous when growing partially self-fertile varieties of apple trees.
- When caring for trees, try not to overfeed them with nutrients and do not overmoisten the soil in the near-stem circle, and if the disease or pest is smallest, immediately remove the damaged parts by spraying the tree with chemicals. This treatment should be repeated in the next season, so that there is always a good harvest.
Simply put, choosing the most suitable apple variety for your region and observing all the recommendations for planting and further care, you are guaranteed to get tasty and juicy apples that can be stored for a long time.