Last month, we began describing the most important steps to maintaining an apple farm. We emphasised that apple farming is not for the time-poor and requires a certain level of care, but the fruits of your hard work will taste even sweeter once you’re ready for apple picking.
This month, we cover tree care and harvest techniques that will hold you in good stead for a fruitful season.
Caring for Your Trees
In the first year of growth, an apple tree will require just a weekly water of about 2 to 5cm. After this first year, established apple trees should thrive off typical rainfall, as they should have been planted in a climate with regular rainfall.
If it’s been a particularly dry summer and the top 8 to 10cm of soil are dry, it won’t hurt to give the plant a drink.
For beginners, the best apple tree fertiliser isn’t one that you’ll pick up in a bottle from the local store. Instead, spread a thick layer of nutrient rich mulch such as that from your compost around the base of the tree. Make sure to leave a good 10cm ring clear from the trunk as piling mulch against it can welcome pests and disease.
Pruning can be avoided for the tree’s first year of growth, as this will only hamper its strength and disease resistance in the following years.
If you need to, removing misplaced buds and broken branches may help the tree to put its energy into more useful endeavours.
Once the tree has matured, simply maintain its size and prune any excess growth that may hamper airflow or sunlight – apple trees need lots of these, and overgrowth can be detrimental to your yield.
As your trees age, clean up or remove any branches that aren’t yielding as much fruit as they used to. This will make way for younger, more active branches to bear healthier fruit.
Plucking Your Harvest
Pick your apples when their background colour is no longer green and they come away from the branch with ease. It’s important to note that different species ripen at different times, so get to know when your plant will be in peak picking season.
Even on the same tree, not all apples will be ready at the same time. This is another reason why apple farming takes such time and patience, as you may need to return to your trees each day to inspect each fruit for picking.
Get In Touch With Galaxy Group
If you’re still left with some burning questions about the intricacies of apple farming, let us know how we can help to get you going.
The team at Galaxy Group have decades of agricultural experience and would be happy to help you get the start you need. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a budding professional farmer, we’ve got the tools and expertise you need.