[NAFEX] Bagging Apples

Mark Dorogi mddorogi at comcast.net
Fri May 25 11:23:13 EDT 2007

I have 10 old variety apples I put in 6 years or so ago here in Ann Arbor
Michigan.  It has been difficult getting apples out of them due to intense
disease and insect pressure from many neighboring wild apples and
crabapples, cedars, etc.  

Up to this year I've used sulfur and Surround, and perhaps BT later on.
I've learned that I do not have the discipline to keep up with spraying all
summer.  I start out strong, but usually by June you can forget it, I get
too busy with other things.  If I miss one or two important sprays, the
apples are history.

This year, I've decided to bag the apples, after reading about it on this
and other forums.  I broke down and used Captan and Malathion sprays to try
to keep the forces at bay until I can get bags in place.

I have a question about this tree: a Lymans Large Summer apple (I don't know
what rootstock it's on, it's a very sturdy dwarf though, about 5" diameter
trunk). It has apples that ripen in August.  The apples are already quarter
size the third week of May.  Here is the tree, with some apples bagged:

Question: this tree seems to drop almost all of its apples in June. Why is
that?  What can I do to reduce that? Does anyone have experience with this

Here are my thoughts. This tree usually drops a fair number of leaves at the
same time that the apples come off due to scab.  The leaves get spots and
yellow and then fall off.  Not a substantial fraction, but enough to notice
a scattering of leaves under the tree. Also, my apples are in kind of raised
planting areas
http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o116/mddorogi/AppleBagging003.jpg due to
the heavy clay soil underneath, so they tend to dry out quickly.

I wonder if the scab pressure, combined with the tree being perhaps too dry,
signal it to unload most of its fruit.  Other trees nearby don't lose as
many fruit during June drop as this one, though.

This year, I hope the Captan sprays will keep all of the fungal infections
at bay.  And I'm watering diligently and have an automatic irrigation system
installed. I mixed in a couple pounds of all-purpose organic fertilizer
around the tree as well.  I'm thinning the fruit quite a bit as I put the
bags on; I think that should help too (although - perhaps I should thin even
more aggressively).  Finally, the tree is still on the young side, perhaps
now that it is a year older it will start to hold on to more apples.

Here's a bag installed:

Any comments are appreciated!

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