Calendar of Apple Orchard Management Activities

Time Activity Purpose Frequency
February to Bloom Complete dormant pruning. Keep fruit-to-shoot growth balanced; remove dead wood and improve light penetration. Every year.
Before buds open (Green Tip) Rake leaves. Burn, bury, or mow to shred and speed leaf decay. If not done previous fall, do now to reduce spring population of apple scab spores.
Bud swell to Green Tip Apply dormant oil. Control spider mites and scale insects. Once a year if scales and mites are a problem.
Green Tip to Petal Fall Apply fungicide. 1st generation apple scab control. Before any rain that causes leaves to stay wet more than 6 hours.

One application protects for 7 days or 2 inches rain, whichever is first.

During Bloom Identify and mark wild apple trees, to remove at any time.

Check trunks for borer attacks that started last year.

Reduce disease and insect pest pressure.

If possible, dig them out to prevent structural damage to trunk.

As needed.

Check for borers in both May and September, but once a year is better than never.

After Petal Fall Apply insecticide. Spray Sevin (carbaryl), 2-3 sprays at 10-day intervals starting at Petal Fall.

Remove fire blight infections.

Control plum curculio weevils, reduce codling moth and a variety of foliar- and fruit-feeding caterpillars.  Carbaryl also thins apple crop which improves fruit size and reduces biennial bearing.

Prevent further spread and loss of branches or whole trees.

2-3 applications.

As needed. Most fire blight strikes appear within one month after bloom.

Petal Fall to four weeks before harvest Apply fungicide at 2-4 week intervals. Secondary apple scab control as needed; also prevents sooty blotch and flyspeck diseases and fruit rots. Before rain. Each application protects 14-21 days or 2 inches rain, whichever is first.

Interval between fungicide sprays depends on frequency and amount of rain, and disease pressure based on observations and/or disease history.

July and August Hang sticky red ball traps on branches near canopy edge, visible from outside of tree, to catch apple maggot flies (AMF). Renew stickiness every 3 weeks.


Apply first insecticide spray when average of 1 AMF are caught per trap. Start counting again 10 days after application. Respray if/when 1 more AMF are caught per trap. Traps provide control when used at rate of 1 trap per bushel; this requires multiple traps per tree.

If not using red sticky traps, control AMF in mid-to-late July, early and mid-August.

Check traps at least twice weekly for timing.

Each insecticide application protects against AMF egg-laying for about 10 days or 1 inch of rain.

Summer insecticide also reduces chance of attack by trunk boring insects.

September to November Harvest fruit; clean up fallen fruit.

Check trunks for borer attack sites.

Munch, crunch, a bunch for lunch! Fallen fruit is slippery, and provides food for voles.

If possible, dig them out to prevent structural damage to trunk.

Some cultivars ripen all at once; others are best harvested over a period of time for best quality.

May and September checks are useful, but once a year is better than never.

November to December Rake leaves. Burn, bury, or mow to shred and speed decay.

Place trunk guards around tree trunks to remain until spring.

Whitewash trunks.

Reduce overwintering apple scab spores.

Protect from vole feeding.

Reflective coating reduces risk of trunk damage by rapid thaw-freeze cycles. Coating may deter insect borers, and makes borer attack sites easier to find.

Rake once after all leaves have fallen.

As needed to prevent voles from girdling trunks.  Keeping grass mowed in summer and fall also helps reduce voles.

Whitewash should last a year.

From the GardenPro Answer Book; revised and updated by Lois Berg Stack, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Apple management information courtesy of Glen Koehler, Associate Scientist, Apple IPM, UMaine Cooperative Extension.