Spring Care Of Apple Trees By The Rules

Apple-tree in our gardens is considered the most popular fruit crop. It is ahead of cherry and pear in distribution, and its fruits are stored significantly longer than those of other garden trees, so the apple tree is the first thing a gardener begins to take care of in the spring. Apple trees, especially if they are still young, suffer from winter frosts and hungry rodents, and their branches sometimes bend to the ground or break under the weight of wet snow. Therefore, it requires a lot of attention. We will describe 10 steps of obligatory spring care of apple-trees in this article.

Spring care of apple trees by the rules
Spring care of apple-trees. © brightwellorchards


  • What care does an apple tree need in the spring?
  • Sanitary pruning of the apple tree
  • whitewashing of the apple tree
  • Washing of the apple tree in spring
  • Roeing of the soil in the rootstock
  • Removing of weeds in the rootstock
  • Mulching of the rootstock
  • Mulching of the rootstock
  • Eliminating winter damages
  • Spring feeding of the apple tree
  • Protecting the apple tree from pests and diseases
  • Protecting the apple tree flowers from spring return frosts

What care does the apple tree need in spring?

In general, the spring care of an apple tree is not much different from the care of other trees. But everything on your apple tree care list at the start of the season is important. In the end, their implementation can increase the immunity of the plant, strengthen its ability to resist the whole complex of diseases and pests, and give a beautiful harvest of apples, which, if carefully harvested, can last quite a long time and please with a fresh taste even in winter.

If we talk about the general stages of spring care of apple trees, these are, of course, sanitary pruning, whitewashing the trunk and boughs, watering if necessary, liquidation of various damages left from the winter period, fertilization, preventive treatments against pests and diseases, control of the first spring pests and diseases, and protection of buds and blossoming flowers from spring return frosts. Consider each item on this list in detail.

1. Sanitary pruning of apple trees

Sanitary pruning of apple trees should be done as early as possible, it is highly desirable to complete it before the beginning of sap movement. All cuts must be made "on the ring", i.e. without leaving a stump, which can turn into a hollow with time; use only sharp tools for pruning, which do not tear the bark.

To understand what to cut, you must carefully inspect the crown of apple trees - the first thing to remove all dry shoots, broken, too thin and those that grow right into the middle of the crown (later they will certainly lead to its densification, transfer of the crop to the periphery of the crown and its reduction).

When sanitary pruning of apple-trees, pay attention to spikes - these are strictly vertically growing shoots, which are formed, most often in trees over five years old, they do not produce fruits, but only draw nutrients. It is better to remove the shoots by cutting them into a ring, or select a couple from the total mass and try to bend them to an angle close to 900 and so fix them. Over time, this position of the shoot will remain, it can be untied, and it will begin to bear fruit.

When sanitary pruning of apple trees, pay attention also to the shoots that are too sharp away from the trunk - at angles less than 450. Such, most likely, under the load from the harvest will simply break. Under them already now you can put props, making ordinary slingshots with a rubber band in the center, for example, from a bicycle camera, or tie these shoots to higher ones, thus giving them strength to break, or simply cut out if there are a lot of such shoots.

Try to prune apple-trees when the temperature is stable and its sudden fluctuations stop, and if there are frosts in this period, the temperature must not be below ten degrees.

To prune this or that branch, try that the part of shoot after pruning has a bud directed upwards and outside the crown, so you avoid dense crown in future.

Spring care of apple trees by the rules
Spring pruning of apple-tree. © Gardenerdy

2. Apple tree whitewashing

Spring tree whitewashing of apple trees can be done either with lime or with white acrylic-based garden breathing paints.

For more details on solution compositions, read the article "Spring whitewashing of fruit-trees"

It's worth recalling the advantages of spring whitewashing once more. It protects the trunk and skeletal limbs from sharp changes of day and night temperatures, when the bark can not withstand and just crack, fall off, and this does not bode well for a tree.

Whitewashing protects from rodents and some pests, which do not attack plants treated with whitewash. This method can also be used to deal with fungal diseases, especially if lime is used.

Remember that spring whitewashing can be easily washed away by rain, and this process may have to be repeated two or three times during the spring period.

Always whitewash starting not from above but from below and move to the first skeletal limbs, trying to "capture" them too.

Whitewashing with lime may be dangerous for young trees, it can cause bark burns, and if you cannot get the white acrylic-based garden paint, whitewash young trees with usual chalk, dissolving it more deeply, bringing the composition to a sour-like state. Spring watering of apple trees

This measure is more important for the southern regions of Russia, where the snow melts very quickly, and most of the moisture evaporates. This is also the time when roots actively absorb nutrients dissolved in water from soil, nutrients rise, leaves blossom, flowering begins, photosynthesis processes are activated. Taking all this into account, if the soil lacks moisture and you live in the south or it was just a snowy winter, every week a bucket of water should be poured under each tree if it is under five years of age, and twice as much - if older. Keep an eye on the weather. So, if it is cloudy and raining, additional watering is not necessary at all.

4. Loosening the soil in the root zone

If all is well with moisture, do not forget that the soil must breathe. In order not to disturb the air exchange in spring, the soil in the apple tree root zone should be loosened more often (at least once a week) to prevent the formation of a soil crust. You can use an ordinary hoe for loosening. When ripping, not to damage the roots, the hoe should be deepened not more than three or four centimeters.

5. Removal of weeds in the rootstead

Weeds appear quite quickly and actively grow, and if the age of the apple tree is more than five years, you can, in fact, not pay attention to them, and just carefully, trying not to damage the trunk, mow (better with a sickle). But young seedlings can suffer from weeds, for them weeds can become competitors for nutrition and moisture.

All the other things, pests and even various fungal diseases can sit on weeds until the time. Weeds on young apple-trees are better to weed out manually after rain or watering, trying to pull them out entirely, then they will not appear next time.

6. Mulching of bedding circle

Mulching is an important, necessary and simple stage of apple-tree care in spring. As a rule, mulch soil is mulched with humus; sawdust, and the more so - sour peat must not be used in spring. A number of problems can be solved by mulching: to increase plant nutrition; to retain moisture by mulching the soil surface after watering; to inhibit weed growth by mulching the soil after weed removal. With the help of mulch, if it is spread with a layer of 5-6 cm, you can even save the delicate root system of young plants from freezing, if suddenly frosts decide to return.

Spring care of apple trees by the rules
Mulching apple tree bedding circle. © orchardpeople

7. Elimination of winter damage

After winter, it is possible to see the consequences of sunburn, when the bark literally peels off. In this case you should remove the dead parts with a wooden scraper, treat the area with 2% copper sulfate, and the next day isolate all the places with garden varnish and bandage them up. The procedure will have to be repeated several times to heal a large wound.

8. Spring Apple Tree Fertilizers

The best fertilizer for apple trees in the spring is a complex fertilizer, such as nitroammophoska. As there is enough melt water in the soil, the fertilizer can be applied in a dry form as soon as the snow melts completely. First, loosen the soil in the root zone, then water it with a bucket of water at room temperature from a watering can (for even wetting), then scatter fertilizer evenly.

For an apple tree more than five years old a tablespoon of fertilizer with a spoonful is enough, and for a tree less than five years old half a tablespoon is enough. After applying this fertilizer it is desirable to level the soil and mulch with humus (with a layer of a couple of centimeters).

You can also spend foliar feeding, for this dilute 10 g nitroammophoska in a bucket of water, fill the knapsack sprayer and treat the plant - this norm for the plant over five years, to process younger plants you must halve the norm.

9 Protection of apple trees against pests and diseases

An entire series of preventive treatments against diseases and pests is usually carried out in spring. The first step is treatment with copper-containing preparations; it can be 2% Bordeaux fluid or 3% copper sulfate solution. Trees should be treated with a sprayer or a knapsack sprayer, trying to moisten all branches completely. For example, against scab and moniliosis on apple trees, the drug "Horus" is used, for protection against powdery mildew - "Skor" and similar authorized preparations.

Against pests such as the fruit moth, when the years of individuals begin, you can treat plants with "Alatar", which helps and against leaf beetles; "Ivanho" - reliable protection against aphids, "Fytoverm" - will cope with mites.

When treating apple trees against diseases and pests, strictly follow the instructions on the package.

In addition to chemical agents, you can also use various biological preparations, hang pheromone traps, paste catch belts - dry, glue, poisonous. The main thing is to replace them more often or clean them.

Spring care of apple trees by the rules
Apple-tree in spring under the snow. © Jessica W

10. Protecting apple blossoms from spring return frosts

It is not uncommon for years when return frosts ruin the blossoms and result in no apple crop at all, no matter how well we take care of the apple tree. It is difficult to help, but you can try. The easiest option and quite reliable - is by agreement with the neighbors, if they do not mind, to light fires on the periphery of the site, it can increase the temperature in the garden for a couple of degrees and save the flowers from freezing. One disadvantage - the weather must be windless and the fires must be maintained until the frost is gone.

Sometimes sprinkling helps, when all the trees are literally sprayed with tiny drops of water from a hose with a special nozzle. Water getting on trees and flowers freezes in the frost giving its warmth to the plant.

We hope our article will help you in practice. And with the help of such uncomplicated measures in spring you can provide yourself with a decent crop of apples in summer and autumn.

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