APPLE SAWFLY After some heavy and repeated spraying, I seem to have the apple sawfly under control, apart from a few trees where a little bit was missed. The symptom of an infestation is - apples rotting on the tree, and the occasional fruit showing a scar, like this one:
This pest is sometimes misdiagnosed - codling moth has a similar effect, but the fruit don't rot as rapidly. Sawfly flies in to the trees at blossom time to lay eggs in the flowers, so grease bands don't work. The remedy is repeated spraying of a contact insecticide (or a single-use systemic) every two days for a fortnight at blossom fall. I don't like spraying, but last yeaqr I lost 90% of the crop, so had no choice. Sawfly losses this year are less than 10%, and no trace of it on many of the trees.
2 Sep 2019
ANOTHER CURIOUS SEASON Blossom was very early this year; first tree out was Pink Pearl on 12 Apr. A number of the early varieties were badly frosted which made hand pollination (for apple breeding purposes) difficult. First ripe fruit was Sweetings around 20-30 July; flavour was good. A number of later varieties are looking as if they will be ready far too early; probably caused by lack of water in the soil until relatively recently. Blossom was light, after a bumper blossom season last year. Only about a third of the trees are carrying fruit, which is lower than average. The season has been a bit odd - but one soon realises when growing fruit seriously that all seasons are peculiar.
Apple tasting videos are being done; first two are here:
Assessment of the first few apples: Sweetings good, Scarlet Surprise good (and heavy crop), Almata good but hit by scab and poor fruit set, Prince Charles good but ripened early, Discovery better than average; similarly Rosette, and about the normal time. Rubaiyat crop is poor - scab; few apples will reach maturity. Dubbelman: poor; premature, small and starchy; same with George's Red, which has also been hit by scab, no doubt encouraged by the many periods of hot weather followed by rain. Langton's Nonesuch: first good crop after repeated spraying against sawfly; good as dessert or cooked. Devonshire Quarrenden good. Laxton's Fortune looks as if it will be good though a bit early.
29 Aug 2019
BLOSSOM UPDATE My flowering malus is coming out now (4 Mar); last year it was around 28 Mar so blossom looks like being around 3 weeks earlier.
4 Mar 2019
BLOSSOM My early-flowering plum is in blossom now (22 Feb) which is earlier than last year by about a fortnight, so it seems that early apple blossom is likely this year.
23 Feb 2019
MISTLETOE Mistletoe is often found on old apple trees, but I have noticed over the years that it grows on other trees too. I've seen it on hawthorn, lime (linden) and willow. A recent discussion on facebook about mistletoe has prompted me to compile a page about it. Click Mistletoe to read it.
18 Jan 2019
FAMILY APPLE TREE The family apple tree which we began constructing three years ago now has fruiting wood on eight (or possibly nine) of its varieties. I'll post some more pictures soon.
2 Jan 2019
The tree has been made using the framework of a ten-year-old tree with poor-tasting fruit. It now has twenty varieties of apple, some of them very uncommon, from around the world.
Here are the key stages of tree construction:
Video 1 Cutting back the original tree in January, fairly drastically, before leaving it for a year.
Video 2 Looking at the new shoots where grafting will take place.
Video 3 The new shoots have grown more rapidly than expected...
Video 4 Grafting soon...
Video 5 Grafting the first ten varieties into the framework. <==***KEY STAGE***
Video 6 Grafting finished - we look at the tree.
Video 7 Grafts starting to grow.
Video 8 Grafts growing too rapidly!
Video 9 First blossom.
Video 10 2nd year grafts growing.
Video 11 First fruit.