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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 6-10 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.

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

After bloom (Petal fall) Apply insecticide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove fire blight infections.

Control plum curculio weevils.  Postbloom insecticide also reduces codling moth infestation and a variety of foliar-feeding caterpillars and leafrollers.

Sevin also improves fruit size by thinning reduces biennial bearing.

Prevent further spread and loss of branches or whole trees.

Spray Sevin (carbaryl), 2-3 sprays at 10-day intervals starting at petal fall or at first sign of damage, to control plum curculio and to thin fruit.

 

 

Most fire blight strikes appear within one month after bloom; remove to prevent new infections.

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.

Insecticide

Apply first insecticide spray when average of 1-2 AMF are caught per trap. Start counting again 10 days after application. Respray if/when 1-2 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 and again in early-to-mid August.

Check traps at least weekly for timing.

Each insecticide application protects against AMF egg-laying for about 10-14 days or 1.5 inches 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.

Whitewash should last a year.

Glen Koehler and Lois Stack, UMaine Cooperative Extension

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