Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Apple Tree

RNH and I planted our two apple trees the past two days! It was a bit of a struggle to figure out where we wanted to place our permanent structures for maximum enjoyment, all while keeping them out of the way. Our disease-ridden, terribly pruned pear tree stands next to an ugly light pole in the middle of our yard. It is a terrible eye sore. But when the pear tree has leaves, the light pole doesn't seem so bad. Turns out that there were two other fruit trees also planted nearby to cover up the ugly pole. It stinks- we need the light in our backyard, but its hideous. Anyways. RNH and I dig and dig and dig and remove the two old fruit tree stumps that have decayed and decide to plant our new apple trees in their place.

I'm a bit worried about the Gala apple tree we planted since it was basically set on top of a rotted root ball that we just couldn't get out of the ground. For the most part, the tree trunk had decayed and we pulled out all of the old wood that we could. We then filled the soil back in with garden soil and compost. I'm not sure if this was a good thing to do. I'm also concerned with why these fruit trees had died. Were they diseased? If so, is the old wood going to pass on the disease to my new trees? Only time will tell!

This picture is the corner off of our deck on the back of the house. You might be able to see the tiny red circles I drew in the grass. Those are our apple trees!

As you can see from this angle, the apple tree is planted near the light pole, hopefully to conceal the pole better. Past the light pole is the pear tree. The pear tree is a disaster. Now after I've done all of this research on pruning and care of fruit trees, I feel sad for this pear tree.

I don't know if the poor tree has ever been pruned. I know there are several ways to prune fruit trees, but I like the pyramid shaped trees that have a central leader. I think with a bit of training, it will be possible to recover this pear tree as long as I'm able to remove the one of the Dos Leaders. The one leader, on the right, actually suffered from a severe bout with fireblight last year. It has to go. There are a ton of other branches in this tree that have to go, so I've got my work cut out for me!

Another problem I have: if you look to the right of the pear tree, there are several other small pear trees that have sprouted over the years. I don't think this is a good thing. But if I'm going to loose a pear tree to fire blight, wouldn't it be nice to have another (free!) tree growing in its place? I think that these younger trees probably have a higher chance of also being infected with fire blight, but I'm not sure. I'll pay more attention to them this year since I have a bit of knowledge!
I don't think I'll know whether or not the larger pear tree is salvageable until about 2 years later. By then who knows what kind of shape these tiny pear trees will be in. As the growth continues this year, I think I'll keep an eye on the small ones and see which one looks the healthiest. I'll cut out all other small trees and make sure I prune the small one correctly. As the years pass, if I determine that the large tree is done for good, I'll just hack it down and let the smaller tree continue to grow (properly pruned!) in its place! We'll see. This is a lot to think about, but I'm excited about fruit!!!
If you can give me advice about my pear and apple trees, please do! I need all the advice I can get!

1 comment:

  1. Fruit trees are new for me too, so I'm in the same boat.

    One suggestion, is to contact your County Extension Agent. I didn't even know such a person existed until my kids got involved with 4-H. There is a wealth of free information at the County Extension Office, plus for a nominal fee you can get soil testing done to find out exactly how to help your soil! They should be able to help you with those fruit trees too.