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Category Search Results for:
Fruits and Vegetables

301 Total Found

Question: 979-3013
I have a big old apple tree. This year the apples are sparse and ugly. My pears are doing well. I have not sprayed or fertilized in the last five years. Is this the problem and can I remedy it? Ellen, Taylorville, IL

Mort's Answer:
You need a spray program for fruit unless you want them to fall to the ground and feed the worms. You need to spray with an oil spray every fall and spring to get the crawling insects. Use a Bordeaux Mix and follow directions on the labels. Home Orchard sprays are a good substitute for Bordeaux, if you do not have fungi. Do not spray anything while the apples and pears are in bloom. You should also use 5-10-10 at the leaf drop. Make a circle of a dozen holes that go down two feet and fill them with the fertilizer. This will be good for five years.

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Question: 622-3911
My eight year old apple trees were blown over by the wind. Since the ground was so soggy, they did not appear to have the roots ripped. I righted the tree. Is there something else that I need to do to insure their survival? Ted, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
I would dig a trench about two feet deep in an arc away from the fallen side. This trench should be about four feet deep and at the leaf drop. Cut any ripped roots with a lopper or saw. This pruning would be helpful in any event. Root pruning is a regular practice in nurseries. Put your best soil at the bottom when you refill the ditch. You can add some 5-10-10 fertilizer to the surface of the ditch and make holes on the fallen side to accommodate the feeding. Holes on the fall side can be made with a crowbar that go down at least two feet. You will need a half dozen holes at the leaf drop.

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Question: 1029-4113
My wife started spraying our apple trees with a soluble fertilizer this year. We now have black spots on the fruit but not the leaves this year. We use a dormant oil spray every year. What can we do? Jim, Elizabeth City, NC

Mort's Answer:
Scab, fly speck or sooty blotch are best avoided with a program that includes dormant oil and Bordeaux Mix. As the bud swell in the spring, you can apply the first spray. A second spray is administered after petal fall with two more subsequent sprays. Follow directions on the label. Unfortunately, this program is too late for you this year. I would put out sticky, red maggot balls to discourage further egg laying by the flies. A soapy solution will help keep away most insects with the help of the red balls. I do not like to use soluble fertilizers on fruit and landscape material. The growth is too quick and requires constant follow up. Do not fertilize again for two years. Wash all the fruit and peel the fruit with black spots.

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Question: 1030-4213
Is this a good time to prune apple trees? Why are there so many stink bugs at this time? Gary, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
You can prune the apple tree after it has finished producing fruit but it is best to wait until it is defoliated. This will make it easier to deal with the tangled branches. Use a roofing compound or tree seal on all the cuts. There is no need to invite insects into the wood for laying their eggs. This year has been a prolific year for all insects in southern New England and other parts of the country. Many insects create progeny right up to frost. This is the reason that we should remove all landscape debris from our property in the fall. Insects will often lay eggs under brush and leaves as well.

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Question: 1085-514
We share some old apple trees on our border with a neighbor. THey did not fruit for five years. Recently, we did some heavy duty pruning and added some manure to the ground at the leaf drop. Do you think they will bear fruit? The trunk is about 15 inches in diameter. Steve, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
Manure is excellent for creating a god environment for other nutrients to release. I would supplement the fertilizer with 5-10-10. Make deep holes up to three feet, if possible with a crow bar. Fill the holes with the granular fertilizer and add a pinch of epsom salts in eat hole. You will need an oil spray to keep away the creepy crawlies in the early spring before bud swell, dormant oil spray can be used around 65 degrees and Neem used much earlier. A home orchard spray is highly recommended. Follow directions on the labels and do not spray, when the buds open. You will need multiple applications.

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Question: 1171-3914
My wife started spraying our apple trees with a soluble fertilizer this year. We now have black spots on the fruit but not the leaves this year. We use a dormant oil spray every year. What can we do? Jim, Elizabeth City, NC

Mort's Answer:
Scab, fly speck or sooty blotch are best avoided with a program that includes dormant oil and Bordeaux Mix. As the bud swells in the spring, you can apply the first spray. A second spray is administered after petal fall with two more subsequent sprays. Follow directions on the label. Unfortunately, this program is too late for you this year. I would put out sticky, red maggot balls to discourage further egg laying by the flies. A soapy solution will help keep away most insects with the help of the red balls. I do not like to use soluble fertilizers on fruit and landscape material. The growth is too quick and requires constant follow up. Do not fertilize again for two years. Wash all the fruit and peel the fruit with black spots. It is unappealing and hides rotting.

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Question: 852-4712
I started apple and pear from seeds outdoors in three inch plastic pots. They are three inches tall now in poor soil. Can I plant them in the spring? Leroy, Hartford, KY

Mort's Answer:
They will not survive outdoors in zone 6. You can bring them indoors and keep them alive in a cool well-lit area until spring. Do not fertilize during the winter. You will need better soil. Be careful to get a solid mass of root and to put them in good potting soil that has a third sand. Tip the cup upside down and tap it against something solid. You may have to cut the plastic if the roots are through the bottom.

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Question: 398-3410
Thanks to your help, I now have Granny Smith Apples grown from seed that are now about 3-4 ft. high. Can I fertilize and how? Diane, Marlboro, MA

Mort's Answer:
Dig 5 or 6 holes in a circle about 18 inches from the stem with a crowbar or tire iron down 6-8 inches deep.Fill these holes with 5-10-10 fertilizer. It's a good idea to grow clover under the apples trees to provide nitrogen and pollen for the bees. You need not fertilize for another 5 years after this application. I would also suggest that you go to the library and get a book on pruning apple trees. In this coming year, you will need to build a scaffolding of four or five main branches, which will support your flower bearing branches. This first year, you can have two or three main branches and subsequently develop the restof the scaffolding. Eventually, you will be able to cut the ends to get more fruit. You will also need to spray regularly with a dormant oil spray and some Bordeaux Mix prior to bud swell and after petal drop. It was great to hear from you on the radio.

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Question: 579-2911
Our apples are about the size of golf balls. Last year we lost them to insects. What organic sprays can we use to keep them safe? Kurt, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
You can spray canola oil to keep away fly specks now. You need a complete spray program to keep the apples from falling to the ground and feeding the worms. Neem is a natural oil that can be applied before bud swell in the spring and as a dormant spray in the fall. You could also put vaseline on the trunk near the root to prohibit crawling insects from nesting in the stems. Lime wash above the vaseline line would be a second line of defense against the marauders. Do not use the canola oil to excess because it could close the pores of the leaves, even when they are mature. Bordaux Mix is considered by many to be natural. This lime sulphur compound can also be applied before bud swell and now after fruit has set. Never spray any chemical while the flowers are on the tree.

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Question: 1322-4415
Why are my apples not as round and smooth as the ones in the stores? I have dimples in them. They were abundant this year and tasty. I never do spray because of my well nearby. Jim Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
I would not change a thing. Just clean up the fallen apples and leaves before they rot. You have fly speck. The flies do not eat that much and leave a few spots for their eggs. This causes irregular growth. It is not worth the risk to spray near your well. You are doing well enough.

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Question: 1337-5215
My apricot tree, that is the middle of a lot of cedars, has not produced fruit in years. It is around six inches at the stem near the ground and about 5 feet tall. It does have specks on the leaves. Is there any chance that I can get fruit? Douglas, Bowling Green, KY

Mort's Answer:
Fruit trees are very prone to apple rust. This fungus winters over on cedar trees. You need to spray your apricot with a dormant oil spray now when the temps are near 60. Unfortunately, it may be too late for the dormant oil spray in zone 6. You can use Neem, which can be applied at any temperature now. You should follow up in the spring with another dose before buds appear. You will also need a fungicide in the spring. Home Orchard spray needs to be applied before bud swell after the oil spray. Do not spray when flowers appear. Follow directions on package for subsequent applications. if you are unable to acquire the Home Orchard spray, use lime sulphur or micronized sulphur. This program should be used every year.

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