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First Year Orchard

Posted by Whitney Fulton 
First Year Orchard
June 02, 2018 04:04AM
I planted my orchard this past fall. I have a total of 101 trees (101 because I ordered 120 and they were short 19 of the trees I wanted). I have Mutsu (Crispin), Granny Smith, Va Gold, Gala, Fuji, Joseph, old fashioned winesap, Virginia winesap, Harrison, and Grimes Golden all on semi-dwarf M111 rootstock. I have them ring mulched with the orchard mowed minimally. I bush hogged once this spring and cut it high. They are spaced 15ft apart in rows and with rows 25 foot apart. They have been sprayed with Michael's holistic recipe, copper, and will be sprayed with sulfur, spinosad, pyganic this weekend. I also have EM brewing with molasses that will go on within the week. We have had heavy rain, very high humidity, and temps well above 80 for about a month. I definitely have some disease/pest issues going on with my trees, and have tried to identify them, but am not 100% sure I am right. I suspect some fire blight, which is possibly my biggest fear and why the sulfur and EM are being sprayed soon! I am adding a link to pictures of the issues with hopes that someone can give me some good insight.


I thought I read somewhere that I shouldn't spray the sulfur within a certain time window that I spray the EM as to not damage the microbes. I know that I need to wait 7-10 days after the copper or at least 1-2 inches of rain, which we have had. Is there also a time period I need to wait between sulfur and EM? I am using karanja oil in this mix, as I also thought I read that oil and sulfur mixed caused photosensitivity. I haven't used neem oil since the temps rose above 80, but maybe that was misinterpreted as well? *Updated-I am now reading not to use sulfur above 80 degrees? I think I will spray the EM in the colonization boost formula and leave it at that until someone can give me some input on sulfur above 80 degrees and time between it and EM. I know it will have toxic effects on microbes to some extent, but there is always risk/benefit ratios with each decision. Just trying to get the most benefit here!

Also, I currently have 4 in corrugated irrigation pipe 18in tall to protect the trunks of each tree. This was the recommendation of the orchard I purchased them from, but the more I read the more I think that I may need to use something more breathable as well as something that gives me better visibility to monitor for diseases and pests. If I was to attempt to slide the pipe up, I would likely damage the low foliage and new branches as the trees are only in their first year and not very tall. Thoughts?

I know these simple questions show my orcharding ignorance...lol. I have spent hours pouring over Michael's book The Apple Grower, searched google for legit information untll my eyes crossed, and attended one of Michael's classes in Charlottesville VA. All this has taught me that there is so much more to it that just spraying certain things at certain times, and that I have much to learn. I have brushed the surface of the information and mastered none. Thankfully I am a nurse and that helps with some of the complexity of it all actually making some sense to me as a lot of the immune system of the tree correlates with how a human works. It is difficult, I certainly have a great respect for those who have mastered it, and I am determined to have a successful organic orchard with healthy trees and amazingly healthy fruit!

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/2018 05:51PM by Whitney Fulton.
Re: First Year Orchard
June 03, 2018 06:11AM
Well, I appreciate you "showing your ignorance", it makes the other novices such as myself lurking on these forums feel better. winking smiley I have a couple thoughts on your questions, though truth be told, I would be delighted to be corrected by the more experienced hands, so please take this with a lot of salt.

re: trunk protection, Michael has a little section with thoughts in his other orchard book, 'The Holistic Orchard.' If memory serves, your corrugated pipe is a good one so long as it can expand eventually and/or gets removed once bark is established and that the bottom is secured, depending on your pests. (As an aside, 'The Holistic Orchard' is a great complement to the one you already have + i recommend it as an e-book, where you can do a quick command-f to search for a topic).

re: disease, I would ID some of your leaves with frogeye leaf spot aka black rot (most visible in photo #7). i'm not sure if some of the overall leaf discoloration is a result of nutrition or just disease / pest effects - would love to hear what HON'ers say. Indeed overall given the incredibly wet & moderately cool spring here in the mid-Atlantic, I am expecting loads of infection...so looking fwd to what others have to post on your questions. Thanks!

Zone 7a in West-Central MD
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