Saving the Apple crop!

This morning I went for my normal weekly stroll around the garden to formulate my “To Do “ list for the weekend.
Fortunately the first thing I found was a couple of issues with my espalier apples. So if I am to save the crop I needed to spend today doing a few intervention jobs.
I found signs of eaten fruit indicating the birds have found the crop. It is usual for this time of year but it never hurts to see the damage first hand to motivate me into setting up the netting.
I also found fruit fall which led me to conclude that the trees are stressed due to this long, hot dry period we are having. Normally in the meadow I do not have to  supplementary irrigate my established trees so I am reluctant to install permanent irrigation. A soaker hose is the answer here.

So what I needed to do to save the crop:

  • I removed any weeds from the beds either side of the espaliers.
    Set up and started the soaker hose going.

    untrimmed espaliered apples

    untrimmed espaliered apples

  • Trimmed any excess vertical non-fruit bearing growth from the trees- this only shades the fruit and by cutting it back now I hope to promote better spur production that will fruit next year.
    trimmed apples

    trimmed apples

  • Erected the frame for the netting – this consisted of putting steel pickets either side of the espaliers, every 3 meters and then cutting pieces of fat striped pipe 2m long and sliding them over the post to form an arch.
    frame for netting

    frame for netting

  • Turned off and removed soaker hose from the bed.
  • Mulched heavily with wattle mulch- as wattle is a legume this mulch should contain enough nitrogen to counter the nitrogen draw down that will occur with the decomposition of the mulch, therefore I did not fertilise.
    wattle mulch

    wattle mulch

  • Replaced the soaker hose- holes facing downward to prevent water spray and excess evaporation.
    soaker hose

    soaker hose

  • Placed the netting over the frame work and weighed it down all the way around with pavers.
    netted apples

    netted apples

Job Done!
It has taken all day but I am now assured of getting a great crop of apples.

Happy gardening Kathy

Posted on November 22, 2014 in HOW TO GROW, SUMMER

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Responses (8)

  1. […] event, stripping leaves and crop from trees, decimating foliage plants and destroying fruit such as apples, tomatoes and […]

  2. […] without the fruit touching the soil and rotting, so I haven’t even needed to stake them. I did cover the crop with a frame and netting to stop the birds from helping […]

  3. Bumper Apple crop | myproductivebackyard
    March 15, 2015 at 9:54 pm · Reply

    […] I started out with growing normal apple trees and I had always been told that apple trees don’t need pruning so after initial framework pruning I left them alone, but they just keep growing till it got to the point where I was unable to net them and the birds got all the crop. […]

  4. […] on from my blog on growing espalier apples, I thought I would share my other method of growing fruit trees in limited space. This is for those […]

  5. ed bustamsnte
    October 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm · Reply

    We’re did you buy that netting system?

    • kmfinigan
      October 12, 2015 at 6:56 pm · Reply

      Hello Ed! I made it actually. I bought some netting online (just google it I dont remember exactly where) and put some star pickets in the ground, then bent some standard poly pipe over them. Its a pretty good system!

  6. […] fruit then the tree can possibly bring to maturity. This is to allow for adverse weather condition, marauding animals and any other situation that may reduce the final crop. If these disasters don’t occur, there […]

  7. […] Birds such as sulfur crested cockatoos can decimate a crop so think how you could net the plants when they are cropping – Im going to write you a complete guide on this later in the year, so […]

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