October 2016 Part 3.
Many thanks to Squirrelbasket for hosting this monthly meme #Treefollowing
I left you with my last post in September with the revelation that only 3 fruits remained on my James Grieve Apple Tree.
Well the news this month is that there are STILL 3 Apples attached to the tree, with no sign of falling off yet.
Also last month I told you that several of the Apple fruits on my tree suffered from a pest called Apple Codling Moth, there is nothing I can do about this pest at this time of year, except cut my Apples open before eating them to make sure I don’t bite into the larvae hiding inside the fruits.
Well this month I have another problem of apples to introduce you to.
One of my remaining fruits is showing symptoms of a condition called Bitter Pit.
The picture shows a dark green section, incidentally that scab looking mark above is Apple Codling Moth damage which was discussed in my last blog.
What is bitter pit?
Bitter Pit makes apples taste bitter.!
Bitter pit is a disorder, not a disease. It is caused by low levels of calcium within the fruit and it is more commonly seen after hot & dry summers. It can usually be reduced or, sometimes, prevented with better cultivation practices such as mulching around the base of tree.
Now I’m thinking that I’ve developed this problem as my soil is a bit on the clayey side, well it certainly cracks open a bit in hot dry weather.
I gave the James Grieve Apple Tree quite a few cans of water to drink throughout the summer, but none on a regular basis, and quite possibly not earlier enough in the season when the fruitletts were forming.
The RHS Website advice on Bitter Pit states:
It is more common on young, vigorously-growing trees, especially those fed heavily with nitrogenous fertilisers; but it can also develop on fairly old trees, especially culinary cultivars with large fruit.
Small sunken pits develop on the surface of the fruit and the flesh beneath the pits is discoloured and dry. In severe cases, brown areas of tissue are scattered throughout the flesh of an infected apple and it takes on an unpleasant, bitter taste.
Symptoms can appear from when the fruits are about half-developed until they are harvested or, often, do not develop until the fruits have been stored.
Use a general-purpose, balanced fertiliser, a uniform supply of water throughout dry periods and mulch to retain moisture in the soil around the bottom of the tree.
Summer Pruning of apple trees reduces the leaf area, which helps to control the vigour of trees and redirects calcium to fruits as well as foliage. However, avoid heavy pruning.
Base of Tree
I do have a small clear area around the bottom of the tree with a bit of mulch on top to keep the moisture in, but I will have to expand this wider in-order to apply more mulch to help with better water retention, and you never know, as it’s Snowdrop bulb buying season soon a few might find their way dotted around the base of the tree.
So there is my James Grieve Apple Tree for the month of October, still hanging onto the 3 remaining fruits, (I did have a slight tug at one yesterday, but it held firm), I will have to wait for the great tasting of my first ever home-grown apple.
None of the leaves are showing any signs of Autumness, and are still hanging firm onto the tree, but the Autumn windy weather has not really got going yet.
Find out next month if I get a meaty shock when I get to taste my first ever homegrown Apples.
Discover what the 3rd new pest is that I’ve identified on my Apple Tree, and find out if any Squirrels steal all my fruits.
Until next time……….