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"The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit."
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MOF&G Cover Winter 2011-2012

 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2011-2012Apple Calendar   
 In the Orchard – A Calendar to Guide Apple Tree Care Minimize


By C.J. Walke

Growing organic tree fruit can be a bit of a challenge, considering the various insects and diseases that like to call your fruit tree home and the relatively short efficacy window of organic control materials; so being attentive to stages of fruit development and biological cycles of pests in your orchard is critical. Most fruit tree pests emerge in synch with certain annual growth stages of your tree. Understanding these cycles and identifying the points of vulnerability for certain pests will maximize the impact of cultural methods and product applications.

This calendar outlines broadly the timing of activities in the orchard, but differences in location, seasonal weather fluctuations and local nuances may shift some jobs slightly. This calendar is something you can cut out of The MOF&G and hang on your fridge or bulletin board for reference and to note when various jobs are best done in your orchard. But please remember, the best orchard activity is the frequent observation of tree and fruit growth, combined with an awareness of life in your orchard ecosystem.

March April May June July August
Prune
Save scions for grafting
Remove and destroy mummified fruit and disease cankers
Plant new trees
Bench graft and top-work
Chip prunings for mulch
Spray dormant oil, if needed
Train limbs of young trees
Look for borer sign weekly
Remove tent caterpillars
Hang white cards for European apple sawfly
Hang codling moth (CM) pheromone traps, track degree days (DD) with first male caught
Apply Surround spray at petal fall, reapply weekly
Collect and destroy all drops weekly
Thin fruitlets, remove damaged ones
Scythe grass and use as mulch
Apply Bt spray for CM egg hatch at 245 DD
Stop Surround sprays
Plum curculio migration ends at 308 DD from petal fall
Hang red sphere traps for apple maggot fly (AMF)
Place cardboard bands on trunks for pupating CM larvae; destroy and replace every two weeks
Bud graft
Summer prune water sprouts and suckers
Apply Bt or spinosad for AMF and 2nd generation CM at 1260 DD
Scythe grass and use as mulch
Harvest first summer apples!!!
September October November December Jan. – Feb.  
Continue harvest of late summer and early fall varieties
Continue to collect and destroy drops weekly
Harvest fall and winter varieties!!
Remove limb spreaders and traps
Apply fish spray, lime and/or compost to hasten leaf breakdown, then rotary mow leaves under trees. Put vole guards in place
Pull back mulch from trunks
Remove traps and spreaders from trees
Root cellars full of fruit!!
Visit orchard regularly to check for deer, vole or rabbit damage
Order supplies
Maintain tools and equipment
 

C.J. Walke is MOFGA’s development associate, librarian and organic orchardist. You can address your orcharding questions to him at 568-4142 or cjwalke@mofga.org.
 


  

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