Garden Action

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Apple Pest and Diseases (continued)

Care of Apple Trees

The main job is to thin out the fruits. If left to grow naturally, there will be a large crop of undersized apples, and the tree may well produce nothing at all the next year. As soon as the fruits set (i.e. a small but obvious apple is beginning to form), cut out the central fruit from each cluster (typically five fruits) - this 'king' apple is often of low quality and misshapen. Remove all blemished and misshapen fruits.

If the crop looks to be heavy, thin each cluster to one or two fruits - the distance between clusters should be no less than 10cm (4in). Cordons and M9 rootstocks trees will require only minor thinning. If a crop is too heavy, and thinning has not been sufficient, one or more branches may well break. Keep an eye on the situation and be ready to thin out further or support the branch.

Harvesting Apples
The best test of when an apple is ready to eat, is to sample one - if it tastes good, it's ready! Another method is to take the apple in the palm of your hand and give it a slight twist - if it drops off, it is probably ready to eat. 

When harvesting apples, take care not to bruise them - this will cause them to rot much more quickly, and if in storage, the rot will spread to other apples.

Storing Apples
Apples keep for longest in cool conditions (3C / 36F), which are well-ventilated, dark and slightly humid.  Not many of us can provide these ideal conditions, so a compromise is necessary. A good option is to store the apples in a shed or garage, with the apples in plastic bags to retain moisture - leave a 2cm (1in) hole in each bag to allow some ventilation.

Apple Pests and Diseases
Apple trees are prone to several pests and diseases depending on your local conditions. Consult the quick guide below and then click on the most likely cause for more details of cause and prevention. The key to healthy apple trees is prevention, and prevention consists of cleanliness - remove and burn any fruit which shows signs of disease, regularly sweep up and burn fallen leaves, and keep the storage area clean with an annual wash of soda and warm water. In this way, the use of chemicals can be avoided.


Grey powdery coating on leaves and young shoots. Mildew

Distorted young shoots and leaves. Aphids

Ribbon like scars on the apple skin Apple Sawfly

Holes in the leaves Winter Moth

Maggot inside apple Codling Moth

White fluffy areas on the bark, looks like fungus Woolly Aphid

Sunken, discoloured patches on bark Canker

Small brown sunken areas on the skin of the fruit Bitter Pit

Browning of the fruit, especially those in storage. Brown Rot

Brown blotches on leaves and fruit. Scab



Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: December 21, 2011 - 04:07 pm
Message: The damage is already there. Magpies are looking for food under the lifting bark. Your tree may be on the way out and on its last legs.

E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 20, 2011 - 12:52 pm

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 05, 2011 - 09:12 pm
Message: Well, Jim. I'll do my best to give sensible answers to all questions!

Name: Jim
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 05, 2011 - 11:10 am
Message: Sorry but I have to agree with Justin Kidder. Disappointed as no one replies sensibly, if any relplies at all.

Yes, we are all busy busy, but what is the point of inviting a question, if no intention to reply.

Name: David Hull
Date posted: December 02, 2011 - 08:36 am
Message: Hi, My grandma has a cooking apple tree in back garden when i picked the apples from the tree the next day i realised i was covered in bites, and recently we have pruned the apple tree i found myself bitten again. I think that the tree may be diseased as there was "like a grey mould" growing around the bottom of new shoots and the leaves seemed to be diseased as well. I was wondering if there is any treatment that you can recommend, any response would be gratefully appreciated.

Thank You

Name: Justin Kidder
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 22, 2011 - 04:55 pm
Message: Hi, I'm wondering if you can help me. I'm looking for useful information on a site uncluttered by ads, where my question might actually be answered´┐Ż

Name: Lovern Lecointe
Date posted: September 09, 2011 - 01:25 pm
Message: Hi, I have inherited a cooking apple tree about 30 yrs.old. The lower part of the trunk had been eaten out by some sort of worm etc. It was over 30 feeet and bore loads of fruit. Some had a fruit maggot others not. The fruits were quite big and smached when the fell. I have cut down most of it leaving no branches but the trunk about 6 feet high.
This summer it has sprouted from the trunk young branches all over the trunk. The leaves look very healthy and dark green.
The only problem is that the leaves have developed some brown squiggley lines. Can anyone help or give advice how cure it? Regards.

Name: Ramesh Verma
Date posted: September 08, 2011 - 02:20 am
Message: I have some problem in my apple orchard especially twings and branches are affected

Name: maz
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 29, 2011 - 09:16 am
Message: we have planted an apple tree this year all was well but now the leaves are dry and shrivelled up we have some new growth but it appears is going the same way. HELP PLEASE

Name: Su
Date posted: August 26, 2011 - 06:24 am
Message: Does anybody have any advice on pruning a 90year old apple tree that has not been touched in years?

Name: cal Brake
Date posted: August 25, 2011 - 12:48 pm
Message: i have a empire apple that poduces loads of apples my problum is the apples fall of the tree very eaSY as they ripen .also wasps seem to bore holes in the fruit on the treeand destroyes them'. what can i do ?

Name: Spenc
Date posted: August 01, 2011 - 08:45 pm
Message: I have 2 apple trees...The leaves look wilted and there are black specaled spots on the underside of the leaves. What do I do? I don't know of anything that could be causing the problem. Any help would be appreciated.

Name: Stella
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 26, 2011 - 05:20 pm
Message: I have a patio apple tree in large container which is kept well watered now has leaf curl what can cause this. I have noticed my neighbours bramley apple tree has mildew, this tree is 100 yrs old, could this be the cause of my problem

Name: sharon
Date posted: July 22, 2011 - 12:27 pm
Message: I have a red bug eating the leaves on my apple trees what to do?

Date posted: July 15, 2011 - 01:30 am
Message: A lot of patches appear on my apple leaves, and some leaves are yellowing . . . . . . . . . . Need an idea how i can save my fruit and leaves(trees)

Name: marion samuel
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 14, 2011 - 04:43 pm
Message: a lot of my apples on my discovery apple tree have started to crack open. They are still quite small at the moment. Any idea why this is happening ?

Name: Mariane McGowan
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 11, 2011 - 02:51 am
Message: The leaves on my apple tree have curled and look dead. They are hanging limply. I cannot see any pests on tree it looks like its getting no water, with all this rain I don't think thats the answer. The tree is the mini patio type which I have in a large container. What is wrong with it?

Name: Garry
Date posted: July 06, 2011 - 08:39 am
Message: We have recently moved into a house that has an apple tree (perhaps 3-5 yrs old) that looks excessively pruned back to the trunk(probably in March 2011). It is showing no growth or life as yet. Is it ruined, or should I give it more time?

Name: Linda
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 05, 2011 - 11:42 am
Message: We replanted our 4 year old bramley apple tree in the Spring and it took to its new home with no apparent problems. Lots of blossom and apples started forming. However, they`re now (4th July) no bigger than a large walnut and they`ve gone very soft and the skin is furry. Any ideas of what`s happening? Many thanks.

Name: tom
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 04, 2011 - 10:01 pm
Message: one of my new trees are losing the leaves. The only leaves left are on the top branches.