[NAFEX] bagging apples

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Sat May 31 15:18:38 EDT 2008

My Jonathan tree planted in 2000 and the grafts on my crab (done in  
2001) finally set fruit this year.   I have no idea why it took so  
long, but my guess is some combination of lack of direct sunlight and  
winter moths, which eat the buds.  I had very poor fruit set as a %  
of bloom, probably some combination of the effect of winter moths,  
which damage the fruiting parts well before the buds open, and the  
sprays for winter moths, which probably took out some of my  

So today I went out and thinned/bagged the fruitlets.   Last year I  
got a few blooms, and bagged 8 apples after they reached "marble  
size".  That was clearly too late, as most had already been attacked  
by something, probably curlicue.  This year I started bagging as soon  
as I could, promptly ran out of baggies, and bought more last night.

I removed all the obviously damaged/weak fruitlets, and in the rare  
cases where a flower cluster had set more than 2-3 healthy-looking  
fruits, I thinned to 2 or 3.  Having waited so long for fruit, I am  
certain that I'd prefer more apples to larger apples, and I have no  
great faith that the trees will set fruit next year no matter what I  
do this year.  :-)  So I thinned less, not more.  I bagged about 100  
fruits, mostly Jonathan and Ashmeads Kernal, with a few Ribston and  
Tydeman's Late Orange.

Wish me luck.

Eastern MA, zone 6

*  This was the subject of a previous rant.  I finally contacted the  
tree company, which I'd hired to spray my oaks. They assured me that  
they hadn't sprayed anything that was actually in bloom, and that  
they'd come on a day with no wind, so there should be very little  
drift.  The Spinosad they use has low residual toxicity to  
pollenators, so they shouldn't have done much damage to the  
population.  In fact, the following weekend I had a huge amount of  
bee activity on the blueberries, so perhaps they told the truth.

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