The apple tree is ailing

Yesterday, my dad took a good look at my apple tree. I had been concerned that it was not growing the way it should (and not producing apples of either any size, quantity or quality). Then when I saw a tree of a similar age at Old Sleningford Farm last weekend, that was the final straw.

My tree has now been retied to its stake with a nylon sock so that the trunk is not damaged, but so that the roots are not damaged either. However, I still need to deal with the insects inhabiting it.

There appear to be beetles living off it, perhaps another sort of insect, too. I had thought it was aphids but if so, they are a very different sort of aphid from the ones on the peppers. And then there might be worms – something has certainly taken a fancy to what I thought was a healthy apple.

So, what is an organic gardener to do? Rip it out and start again? After all, this tree could be at risk because it is an old variety, and maybe I would better off with one that is more disease resistant.

On the other hand, I could mulch, mulch and mulch some more, put grease bands on the trunk and get some neem spray to suffocate the beasties (once the leaves have fallen?).

After inspecting the tree again this evening, I think the tree does look basically sound. So, I may as well try to get it back to full health as I wouldn’t like to have to wait another four years for apples, unnecessarily.


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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12 Responses to The apple tree is ailing

  1. Best of luck to you and your apple tree, Helen.

  2. You sound like you are on to it. Don’t rip it out. TLC is the answer and some good fertiliser. Give it a good prune in winter. Fingers crossed 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your advice, Julie.

      I wasn’t sure whether to prune as I’ve done quite a lot of that in the last two years but I’ll be able to tell better what needs doing once the leaves are down.

  3. Mulch, mulch, mulch sounds good. Good luck with it. 😉

  4. Hope your apple recovers with your tender loving care Helen have a blessed day

  5. suburbable says:

    Sometimes trees get overwhelmed by things that are not obvious to us. I find in such cases that removing any dead or sick looking materials from the tree, opening it up to more light and better ventilation helps. Removing the mulch layer around it for a week or so also gives it a boost as moisture and oxygen levels in the soil get a chance to balance out. Replacing fresh mulch after this helps. Also, the old standbys of worm liquid and seaweed solution applied to the leaves and the root system help give ailing trees a boost. You may not see fruit this year but the tree will look healthier and probably yield next year.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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