Late this spring I decided I’d try to prune the apple trees in hopes they would actually, you know, grow apples. I have a dozen books on growing trees, and that included instructions on how to prune them. But for the life of me I can’t understand what I’m reading when it comes to this topic. And there is like no one who will just swing by the house and show me. Luckily we have the internet and more specifically luckily we have YouTube. This dude, James Prigioni, on YouTube has a great video that I watched. It gave me the confidence to go out and massacre my little apple tree friends. (You can watch the rest of his videos here).
I went to the store and bought a hand saw and sharpened up my clippers. I did the best I could to remove the branches crowding the center of my trees. And I trimmed off dead branches. Generally working to shape up the trees. I removed up to 30% of branches on some of the trees. I pruned a little late in spring but I did the best I could when inspiration struck me.
The fruits of my labor were three apples on two trees this year. Not much progress but one of the apples was red, which is the first time we had a red apple tree produce an apple.
A red apple on a tree.
A green apple on a tree.
I plan on pruning my trees again this fall, or in the spring. They got very large this year after I pruned them. Watching the video helped out a ton because the books just weren’t explaining it to me in a way that I could understand. I really need someone to show me.
I’m sure I’m not taking very good care of my trees in terms of fertilizer or whatnot, but it is nice seeing them grow up, and maybe I’ll get lucky next year and they’ll start magically growing fruit.
I don’t know what happened to the apples. It’s late summer and they must’ve fallen or rotted off the trees. I don’t spray the trees so maybe that’s part of the problem too. Regardless, three apples is hardly anything to get excited about yet. So I just let nature take its course.
Pruning was fun and therapeutic. I look forward to playing with my apple trees some more next year.
Just some quick photos for you tonight. It’s late and I’m totally overwhelmed with life. Being unemployed has that effect on middle-aged bread winners. My eye twitches so much I don’t even have to blink anymore.
My hand is still swollen, more so now, from yesterday’s bee sting.
In the midst of a creative block this morning during “work” I scampered outside to examine the apple trees, only to find their leaves under distress. I looked up in my tree fruit book and it looks like many of the trees have scab or pear leaf blister mites. If it’s scab I’ll need to get a fungicide at the garden center. If it’s a mite, then I sprayed the trees today with Captan Jacks Deadbug which will hopefully do the trick. I eyeballed 0.25 oz of concentrate to go with 15.75 oz. of rain water, which is I think the ratio on the bottle said. I just mixed it in an old spray bottle we had lying around. Supposedly it’s a “safe” product, but I got it all over my hands so if my sperm count is low then we’ll know why.
One note, I don’t think we’ll have any apples this year. I only ever saw those 2-3 blossoms, and that was when the bees were just starting out, so even if they were out I doubt anything got pollenated. I don’t see and fruit buds on the trees and we should have them by now, in time for the “June drop”, when the apple trees drops some fruit to make room.
To keep the deer away from my well eaten apple trees I plan on mixing up a home-made recipe of repellant and spraying that around the apple trees also. In the mean time I’ve encouraged our oldest to pee in the weeds near the apple trees to keep the deer away. I think I saw something like that in Jurassic Park 3; I’m figuring the deer stay clear of human pee. I’ve been helping out as well. Actually when I was out there this morning defending my territory there was a deer standing there watching me. As soon as I reached for my zipper it ran away in fear, so maybe the word has gotten out. Hey, you try to find anyone who loves nature as much as I do.
Enough of my crude high school boy humor, here’s today’s photos, enjoy!
Damaged apple leaves. Some trees are better than others but all of them have issues.
My diseased apple leaves. I removed as many damaged leaves as possible and sprayed for insects.
I mixed up some Captan Jack elixir in a left over spray bottle and sprayed my apple trees. I can use this stuff on our veggies and other plants if need be. Look at the directions though!!!
If you look closely you can see one of our fuzzy honey bees pollinating a wild clover flower.
I ripped down 2×4 pine / fir boards into 1.5″ x 3/4″ strips. I then passed these strips you see in the photo through the table saw again to make square profile 3/4″ garden stakes. I don’t care if they rot, I can easily replace them with leftover wood and they’re not chemically treated, which might harm veggies.
I lined up three stakes staggered like this and cut all three at once with a 45 degree angle.
The 45 degree angle on the stakes allows them to go into the soil more easily.
I’ve got stakes all over the garden. In the coming weeks I’ll form them into 5′ tall three stake pyramids.
The radishes popped up over night seemingly. They are the only seeds that popped up so far, that I planted last week.
The lettuce is coming back and looking good.
Blueberry bush with bird netting on it.
I’ve netted our blueberries to keep birds off of them.
The rain barrel works great for watering the garden. You can see our vacant toad house next door on the ground.
Seed pods on one of our redbud trees.
Daises are blooming. I planted these as seeds last year.
This is one of the annual seedlings we grew indoors this year.
Squint and you can see our christmas tree in the middle of this picture.