Top pick for apple trees?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Habitat' started by Maple_Ridge, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Maple_Ridge

    Maple_Ridge

    Messages:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    3,761
    Location:
    thumb
    Thinking of planting 5 or so apples and pears next to my rye plot.

    Any top picks for you guys, from these varieties of both Pear and Apple trees? Thanks!

    Screenshot_20200112-120012_Drive.jpg
     
  2. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

    Messages:
    34,964
    Likes Received:
    29,821
    Location:
    Somewhere Near the Tip of the Mitt
    If it was me I would go with a combination of standard and semi dwarf apple trees/crab varieties. Both will outgrow the reach of hungry deer.
     
    Dish7 and Wild Thing like this.

  3. Dish7

    Dish7

    Messages:
    5,331
    Likes Received:
    17,692
    Liberty, golden delicious.
     
    jr28schalm likes this.
  4. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    28,167
    Location:
    Iron Mountain
    Agree with Luv2 on planting standard and semi dwarf varieties. I have planted primarily all standard sized trees for the past 25 years but have recently planted some semi dwarft. I would not plant dwarf trees for wildlife.

    I have 2 Wolf River trees remaining that have survived several bear attacks each. They produce good crops fairly regularly with large apples. They aren't quite sweet enough to my taste but the deer seem to love them ... as they do any variety of apple.

    Wolf River

    IMG_1688.jpg

    Wolf River

    IMG_1684.jpg

    Honey Crisp

    IMG_1665.jpg

    While I don't see them on your list, Cortland is one of my favorite varieties. They produce great crops regularly and apples hang on all the way through winter if I let them. This row next to the fence are Cortlands.

    IMG_1671 (1).jpg

    Honey Crisp in the second row...Cortland in the front row.

    IMG_1674 (1).jpg

    You do want to plant multiple varieties so you have cross-pollination. Most apple trees are not self-pollinating and need a pollinator nearby. This can be either another apple variety or even crabapple varieties. I have successfully used both.

    I don't know this from personal experience as I have never planted a pear tree but it is my understanding that planting pear trees near apple trees could subject your apple trees to Fire Blight. I would recommend planting the pear trees in a different plot.

    I have also had good luck with Northern Spy but bears wiped out my last one last year.

    I have always heard great reports about Liberty but have never seen them available from my supplier. I would like to try them some day.
     
  5. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    28,167
    Location:
    Iron Mountain
    I have tons of Cortland, Honey Crisp and Honey Gold apples hanging as we speak. These varieties have always held apples well into winter for me. My Wolf Rivers dropped their last apples around the end of November this year.

    IMG_1674.jpg

    IMG_1673.jpg

    View attachment 480313

    Of course, the deer will help themselves to anything they can reach on those trees outside of the fenced orchard... Bears killed the tree on the left so I just turned it into a scrape tree.

    IMG_0006 (5).jpg

    IMG_0012 (5).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  6. Maple_Ridge

    Maple_Ridge

    Messages:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    3,761
    Location:
    thumb
    Is there a good variety from that list that would drop fruit in October and November?
     
  7. fairfax1

    fairfax1 Premium Member

    Messages:
    13,399
    Likes Received:
    5,394
    Location:
    Southern Michigan farm country
    .........................................................................................

    Wild Things'
    recommendations are sound for several reasons, but most especially: tho his pics show fruit still on the tree now, all of those 'late-hangers' are also 'trickle-downers'. Meaning, they've been dropping some fruit since likely late October--- a couple apples today, one tomorrow, three the next day.

    THAT----is the Holy Grail you seek (I think). The 'vending machine' tree, where there is always something available unless another deer got to it first.

    In my narrow little world....I don't want trees that release their crop all at once...be it October, November, December, or what have you. I want ...and diligently seek the 'trickle-downers'.

    BTW, can the Tuscola Conservation Service inform you on what root-stock those trees are on?
     
  8. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    28,167
    Location:
    Iron Mountain
    Exactly - Most all of my apple trees begin dropping apples in September - just a few at a time. some are done dropping in November - some December - some later.
     
  9. phensway

    phensway

    Messages:
    3,499
    Likes Received:
    921
    Location:
    barry county
    If you're inquiring about variety, I suggest cortland, they hold fruit the longest and they stay fresh while on the ground for months, no brainer in my opinion
     
    Wild Thing likes this.
  10. BOC1324

    BOC1324

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    23
    Wildthing how do you keep the base of your trees so clean of weeds? Certainly you're not using any herbicide are you?
     
    Wild Thing likes this.
  11. Sportsman1933

    Sportsman1933

    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    209
    Location:
    Ottawa Co, MI
    Wild thing those look great. I've planted several varieties of apple and crabapple the past 12 years and it's been a bit of a failure so far. I'm making a bigger effort this year to try and get them to produce more fruit. The trees are healthy, just don't produce much fruit. Besides trimming and eliminating competition do you have any advice?
     
    Wild Thing likes this.
  12. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    28,167
    Location:
    Iron Mountain
    Absolutely - Herbicides – Spray glyphosate (Roundup) around the base of trees to reduce competition from ground vegetation. Trees will be 30%-35% larger by the 4th year.

    The other reason I spray around my fruit trees is because Voles will tunnel through the grass under the snow in winter looking for food. My hope is that when they run out of grass 3 feet away from the trunk of my apple trees, they will turn away from the tree to stay in the grass. Even though I have window screen or hardware cloth around my trees I still don't want them trying to climb above it to girdle my trees.

    Thanks Sportsman. There are a lot of threads on the Habitat Forum with good info on planting and maintaining apple trees. If you do a search you should come up with a few of them.

    Here are some of my notes:

    Apple Orchard - Notes

    Soil Tests – Maintain Ph of 6.3 – 6.7. Plant well above the water table to avoid root rot. Apple trees do not like “wet feet”.

    Preferred Rootstock – Winter-hardy, semi-dwarf – i.e. M7, M111, Bud 118, or G30.

    Planting: Take notice of the “bud union” where the tree was grafted to the rootstock. The bud union should be 2-3 inches above the soil level.

    Bill Mayo’s Favorite Apple Trees

    1 – Honeycrisp 5 - Jonafree
    2 – Liberty 6 - Empire
    3 – Honeygold 7 – Northwest Greening
    4 – Enterprise

    Our Favorites

    1 – Honeycrisp
    2 – Red Wealthy
    3 - Cortland

    Nitrogen Fertilization

    Nitrogen - No more than 0.4 - 0.5 pounds per tree per year.
    4-5 Year Old trees - 1 Cup. Young trees - 1/2 Cup.

    Newly planted trees - Mix up 1/2 gal to a gallon Miracle Grow and pour around trunk.

    Apply N during dormancy before bud swell and at least one month prior to bloom. Yearly new growth should range from 10” - 18” (10” 0 12” on cherry trees).

    Phosphorus and Potassium Fertilization - Phosphorus deficiency is rare in mature fruit crops but P fertilizer can be broadcasted. Potassium fertilizer is needed - no more than 3.5# K in any one application but no more than 7.5 - 8.5# of K in a 3-year period.

    When proper nutrient levels are established in the soil a balanced fertilizer (i.e. 19-19-19) can be used.

    From Michigan State University:

    Proper fertilization of tree and small fruits is essential for the production of quality fruits, but not all fruits are fertilized the same way. Before making any applications, the first priority of a smart gardener is to test the soil to determine the nutrient needs of the crops. Michigan State University Extension offers a soil test kit that can be purchased online at the MSU Extension Bookstore. After receiving the kit, follow the directions for collecting the sample and mailing for analysis.

    When the results have been returned, go to MSUSoilTest.com and select the “Understand Your Soil Test Results” bar for further instructions and recommendations for timing of applications. Fruit trees should be fertilized in the early spring before growth starts if there are indications such as low annual growth; damage from weather extremes; light green leaves; or a soil test indicating a need for nutrients before planting. Mid- to late April is an ideal time.

    Once the amount to be applied has been calculated, it should be placed in a wide band under the farthest branches from the trunk, or the drip line, of the tree. Most of the roots that pick up water and nutrients are in this area. Instead of broadcasting, some people prefer to drill holes around the drip line using an auger for the fertilizer placement. This method is acceptable, but more time consuming if there are many trees to fertilize. In the absence of a soil test, a general recommendation would be to apply 1 cup of 12-12-12 per inch of tree trunk diameter. The maximum application for a mature tree is 8 cups.

    Thinning Fruit - Young apple trees (1- 2 or 3 years old) should have most, if not all fruit removed early on so the energy from the soil nutrients goes to the development of the tree itself and not the fruit. Doing this will pay bigger dividends later on.

    More mature trees can produce many, many very stunted apples if the fruit is not thinned early on in the season. A friend of mine claims that spraying Sevin for the first spraying after pedal fall helps to thin the small apples. Don’t ask me why?? I tried it and I still have way too many apples - even to the extent that I had one entire tree break off and many broken branches on other trees last year. It is best to have fewer large sized apples than many very small apples.

    Herbicides – Spray glyphosate (Roundup) around the base of trees to reduce competition from ground vegetation. Trees will be 30%-35% larger by the 4th year.

    Fungicides/Insecticides – The most important spraying is a dormant oil spray (Gordon’s) in late winter/early spring before buds open. This helps prevent scale (fungus disease) plus mite and other insect eggs from hatching. Scale can lower fruit production to zero.

    Fungicide – Captan 50 WP or 70 WP (wettable powder) – Insecticide – Imidan (phosmat) 80 WP. Wear full personal protection – including latex gloves when mixing/spraying. Mix Captan and Imidan together at the rate of 2-3 tablespoons each per gallon of water in your tank sprayer. Use 3-4 cover sprays/year at 10 day intervals. The first spraying should be just before bloom (Imidan is toxic to bees – do not spray in bloom). Next, spray after pedal fall when 90% of pedals have fallen. 3rd spraying 10 days later. 4th spraying 10 days later, 5th spraying 10 days later, etc.

    Protecting Trees

    Fold a single sheet of 24” high aluminum window screening around trunk and staple along the edge & seam. Tuck bottom edge into the soil.

    Or, surround the trunk with 1/4” hardware cloth - 24” high. The H C can be wired together and loosened in future years to allow for growth.

    Fence individual trees with 4 - 5’ 2”X4” welded wire. Fence orchards of 10-25 trees with 8’-9’ high fence (although 6’ has worked for me)

    Pruning – Buy Felco #8 (F8) Right Handed pruning shears. 8 ¼” long – 8.5 oz $46.

    Felco holster (F910) is another $11. Free shipping from Felco. Clean pruning shears with a solution of bleach & water between trees so you don’t pass diseases from one tree to another.

    Pear Trees - Do not plant pear trees in close proximity to apple trees as they are a good host of Fireblight.

    Apple - Spray Schedule.jpg

    The Spray Schedule above was provided by Whitetail Freak and is excellent. I believe that the Dormant Oil spray and the first spraying after pedal fall are the most important, but if you want great looking “People Apples” try to include all or most of the sprayings in Blue at least. Spraying “Wildlife” trees isn’t as important but I still try to do the dormant oil and 1 multi-purpose spraying after pedal fall.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  13. Sportsman1933

    Sportsman1933

    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    209
    Location:
    Ottawa Co, MI
    Wow, thanks for all the information wild thing.
     
    Wild Thing likes this.
  14. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    28,167
    Location:
    Iron Mountain
    Any time Sportsman. Hopefully we can get you into the game in the next year or so. You should have been getting great crops of apples long before now. Hopefully you aren't pruning off your fruiting spurs when you prune :).

    Are you getting blossoms in the spring?? Do you have different varieties nearby to help with pollination? Do you have a good population of bees to pollinate for you?

    I got blossoms on these trees only 4-5 weeks after I planted them. I had to remove 2-3 dozen apples off of each of these young trees the first year I planted them...


    DSC01090.jpg

    You need other varieties nearby to help with cross pollination. A crabapple or two planted nearby might do wonders for you.

    IMG_4656.jpg

    You should be seeing blossoms like this in the spring?? Each blossom (if pollinated) will bring you an apple or two.

    IMG_4639 (1).jpg
     
    Sparky23 and bigbucks160 like this.
  15. Thirty pointer

    Thirty pointer Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,601
    Likes Received:
    13,465
    Location:
    N E Kent county mi.
    I have trees that drop very early to very late most are wild transplants or started by seed or root suckers .Most are full sized trees some produce 20 bushels or more on good years but whatever you plant remember deer can browse this high and a small tree will forever have to be fenced and deer will have difficulty getting at fruit inside that fence . IMG_0751.jpg