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.