Fertizing espalier apple trees

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Thai, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Thai

    Thai Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Delta canada
    I have several espalier and some columnar tree, as well as two conventional trees on dwarf stock. What is the recommended way to use fertilizer, if at all. What type and quantity should be used, and when? One espalier had bitter pit two years ago, but not in 2010. All bear well, and are various varieties.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,300
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Depends on the current mineral content of your soil. Serious soil management efforts require sampling and testing of soil.
     
  3. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,300
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Thereby gambling that it is the right blend for your soil, as always when no soil analysis is involved.

    In the region generally nitrogen is the only nutrient that needs to be supplemented, but applying just this one nutrient as a result would again be acting based on assumption rather than specific knowledge.
     
  5. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    Apply at 250lbs/acre by the end of March, and once again at the same rate 4-6 weeks from now. If you don't have an acre, just scale down (1 acre is approx 43000sq ft). This is assuming you are broadcast fertilizing.


    Or 1 oz/foot of height per tree applied near the drip line. (i.e. 10 foot tree = 10 oz's)


    Nothing beats a professional soil test to see what is lacking though. To get your soil corrected to the optimum balance requires knowing your starting point.

    Edit - I meant 43000 sq ft, not 4300
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  6. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    just saw Ron's post, and Ron is correct regarding soil tests being the most accurate way of determining nutrient requirements of course. What I gave is a general recommendation to be adjusted based upon tree response and fruit quality.

    Also, be aware that high nitrogen on bearing trees will decrease yield and increase problems.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    21,300
    Likes Received:
    810
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Operative term "high". You don't want to overdo any of the nutrients, phosphorus in particular.

    Note that barren apple trees in New York were made productive by applying nitrogen. It seems the old "nitrogen for leaves, phosphorus for fruit" etc. is not 100% true.
     
  8. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    OK, if you want to do it absolutely correctly, take several soil samples in the vicinity of your trees. Do a google search on how to take soil samples as you cannot introduce contaminants into your samples (such as rust from tools etc.). Get a recommendation from the lab or soil specialist to see what nutrients/minerals/amendments to add. Add nutrients before growing season.

    Then in July, take tree leaf tissue cultures and have them lab analysed as well to see nutrient uptake by the trees. Get the lab or fruit tree specialist to recommend additional nutrients for optimization. Rinse and repeat annually.

    You are now a professional farmer!

    Or, just apply a general fruit tree fertilizer following the directions on the bag and hope for the best (and generally get good results).

    Good luck:)
     
  9. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,057
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    The most important and reliable soil test, as obvious as being most often overlooked, is to see how it produces. If plants grow and produce well
    there is no need for any additional testing or any synthetic fertilizers.
    Mulch your trees with organic grass clippings, straw, composted manure etc., or even better, with the mixture of those. Be careful not to use any mulches contaminated with chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and you will be happy all your life.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  10. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    That's the organic theory anyways. However, in reality, if you want to grow the best tasting nutrient dense fruits/veggies/whatever, your soil has to be in a certain balance of minerals and nutrients. Organic matter is good if your soil is low in humus, but does little to address nutritional or mineral deficiencies.

    Your soil either has the right combination of mineral ingredients naturally, or you will have to add them in the correct amounts to have optimum soil. However, if you do not replace the minerals, your soil gets demineralized year after year. That's why our food today has 1/3 of the minerals that it did 50 years ago, because minerals are drawn out of the soil and not replaced. No combination of of grass clippings, manure, compost, or cheap NPK fertilizers will do much to replace those minerals. Can you do this organically or using natural ingredients? Yes, I may just start a thread on how to do that...
     
  11. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    Phosphorus is essential for high sugar production.
     
  12. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,057
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Kootenays, BC, Canada
    Thank you Tree Nut for your opinion in your previous (before last) post.
    Thai, one more note re. mulching. If you decide to do that, apply organic mulch around the trunk of the tree in the form of a "donut". Do not allow the mulch to touch the trunk, keep it away from it. The mulch should be up to 10 cm thick and cover the area under the tree at least up to the drip line. And don't allow your mulch to became matted.
     
  13. Thai

    Thai Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Delta canada
    I have just got a soil testing kit. When I have taken seveal samples I will seek further advice. Thanks you all for your suggestions. I had about 200 lb of apples last year, from 3 columnar, 3 espalier, and 2 semi dwarf trees. Types include Bramley, Cox, Melrose, Transparent, Gravenstein. There is a tendency to biennial bearing in the Gravenstein. How does one correct that? I have tried to reduce the set fruit substantially.
     
  14. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    Sounds like your are getting a good harvest from your trees! Do you make cider?

    What do you mean by a soil testing kit? To get the right information you need to take a few samples, put them in a zip lock bag and send them to a lab for professional analysis. I wouldn't worry too much about PH, or NPK which is all most home soil sampling kits test for. With the right soil mineralization, PH automatically self corrects. NPK is the easy part whether organically/synthetically. It's the minerals which make the difference in taste and fruit quality. FYI - virtually all soil minerals are considered organic since they originate naturally.

    See link for how to take a soil sample http://www.soilminerals.com/soiltestservices.htm

    I have used Pacific Soil Analysis in Richmond (604 273 8226), and believe Terralink Horticultural in Abbottsford now provides that service as well http://www.store.tlhort.com/default.aspx

    Regarding biannual bearing, thinning heavily is about all you can do as far as I know. Some varieties are more prone to this than others and I believe Gravenstein is one. I have 14 apple trees of different varieties, and have noticed that Gravenstein and Golden Sentinel tend to bear heavy every two years.
     
  15. Thai

    Thai Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Delta canada
    Last year (2015) I had a very poor crop on all my various types of apples. This year I have a huge set of apples, and am having to thin very extensively. Was the drought last year a factor? My Bramley cordon is laden.
     
  16. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,793
    Likes Received:
    274
    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    If you didn't water, the drought would have been a factor. I watered my trees (in Burnaby) and had too many apples on one of the trees; I didn't remove enough of them while thinning. The other tree had a good crop.
     

Share This Page