Fall is an incredibly vital time for your apple trees. Apple trees reach their peak between August to October, depending on the variety, making the start of fall prime harvesting time for many apple trees. Here are a few ways to take care of your apple trees around fall harvest time.
1. Keep Watering Your Trees
If your fruit trees are young, adequately watering your trees throughout the fall helps with the growing process. Young trees require at least a gallon of water a week and more water as they grow. Getting enough water throughout the growth season, which includes fall harvest time, will help your apple trees produce sweet and tasty fruit.
Even mature trees could use a little water during harvest time, especially if there is not a lot of precipitation in your area. Drought can affect the quality of your apples. Water your fruit trees until at least the middle of October.
When you water your fruit trees, use a sprinkler or drip system. Water your trees for at least 30 to 45 minutes twice a week. This method will allow water to penetrate down to the roots of your trees and will help teach your fruit tree's roots to reach deep for water.
2. Be Careful With How You Pick Fruit
When you pick apples, wait until the apples are mature. The most straightforward way to tell if your apples are ready is by picking and eating one. If the apple tastes good, it is ready to pick. If the apple tastes sour or bland, it probably needs more time on the vine to ripen.
When you pick apples off your tree, be sure to twist the apples off; don't pull them off. When you twist, twist in an upward direction to one side to dislodge the fruit from the tree.
When you pull an apple off your tree, you risk damaging the sub-branches that support the fruit on your tree. Apples grow on the sub-branches or spurs, not on the main branches of the tree.
Pulling an apple off your tree can easily cause these important spurs to break off, which would limit the areas where apples can grow in the future on your apple trees.
Avoid using apple pickers, which can damage your tree branches. It is best to use a ladder to reach fruit on the higher branches of your trees.
3. Keep the Base of Your Apple Trees Clear
Try to keep the base of your apple trees clear. During the summer and early fall, mow the grass around your apple trees to keep it short. Short grass will help keep pests such as mice away from your apple trees and ensure water can get to the roots of your apple trees.
When the leaves start dropping this fall, rake up the leaves around your apple trees. Lots of different types of bugs like to overwinter in leaf piles, include insects that could harm your apple trees.
Additionally, the leaves under your apple trees could contain harmful bacteria and fungus. For example, if a tree in the area has leaf spot disease and those leaves decompose under your apple trees, your apple tree could become infected with leaf spot disease. Many tree diseases are spread through decomposing leaves.
Lots of leaves under your trees can also create an ideal home for larger pests. During the winter, mice often winter in piles of large leaves. Mice can cause significant damage to your apple trees as well, so don't leave a winter home under your apple trees for the mice.
Although it is OK to let leaves naturally decompose in other parts of your yard, raking up and removing the leaves from apple trees will help protect their health.For more advice on how to take care of your apple trees during harvest season, the professionals at AAA Tree Service can provide you with the guidance you need.