Fruit trees



New Member
Apr 18, 2001
We moved to a new house that has 2 apple trees and 2 peach trees that haven't been pruned or sprayed. Could you tell me what to spray with and how many times a day or week I need to spray them and some tips on pruning them?


The Big Kahuna
Staff member
Mar 29, 2001
Littleton, Colorado, United States
This should work for both of your fruit trees:

Your apple tree should begin to bear full size fruit in 3 to 4 years.
With proper management it should be productive for many years and
never grow more than 10 to 14 feet tall.

Observe shoots in early spring. The previous year's shoots are usually
a more intense (bright brown) color than older wood.
Older portions of branches are grayish or dull.

On young apple trees, 10 to 20 inches of shoot growth per year
can be expected. If there is less, fertilization may be required.

Good pruning allows air and light penetration into the center
of the tree and encourages moderate growth of healthy branches.
Prune in late winter/early spring before buds break open.

The primary purposes of pruning are
- to develop a strong tree that will carry a load of fruits
- to adjust and partially control the size and shape of trees
- to facilitate culture and harvest operations
- to improve the quality and size of fruits

Apple trees must be sprayed several times during the growing season if
good-quality fruit is expected. The first spray of the season is a dormant
oil spray which is applied before leaves and flowers emerge to control
overwintering insects. After flowering, various insecticidal and fungicidal
sprays are applied every 7 to 10 days up until the time of fruit harvest.
Combination spray materials (labelled as home orchard sprays) are widely
available at nurseries and garden centers.
As always, read, understand, and follow label directions.

Apple trees are pollinated by honeybees. Keep spraying to a minimum
during flowering. In addition, keep dandelions cut during apple flowering.
Bees visit dandelion flowers more than apple flowers--this can result in
decreased apple pollination if dandelions are near apple trees.

Apples need 1/4 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per year of age of tree
up to a maximum of 1 1/2 pounds per tree. Fertilize in early spring
as buds begin to swell. Broadcast the fertilizer in a circular band
starting about 1 foot from the trunk and extending out to the spread
of the branches (dripline).

The ideal time to spread branches is in early spring,
but they can be spread at any time.
Branch spreaders are left in place for 1 or 2 growing seasons.
A wooden clothespin can be used to start the training process
while scaffolds are young and pliable.

Several flower clusters can be expected in the 3rd or 4th year.
Flowers are borne on specialized branches called spurs.
A spur is a short, thick, slow-growing branch on a fruit tree
that is adapted to bear flowers and fruits.
Many types of fruit trees have spurs.

After flowering, small fruits begin to form. If too many fruits mature,
they will be small in size. To increase the size and quality of fruit,
-fruit thinning may be required. Thin the developing fruits
during late May or in June.
Leave 1 fruit every 8 inches along the branches.
Remove misshaped or damaged fruits.

Thinning should be done after "June drop."
June drop is a natural drop of fruit in May or June.
It is highly likely that you will observe some of this natural thinning.
After June drop, thin remaining fruit if necessary.
Fruit thinning not only produces better fruit,
but also prevents over-production, which can lead to biennial bearing.
In biennial bearing, a heavy crop of fruit one year can cause the tree
to not flower and fruit the next. In other words,
biennial bearing means that good apple crops occur only every other year.