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Apple Trees

D0rdogne_DamselD0rdogne_Damsel Saint Yrieix La Perche, Haute Vienne/Dordogne border. FrancePosts: 3,380

I moved into this house (in the Dordogne) in April and have been working full time to get on top of the garden.Whilst doing this have ignored two apple trees but now having seen them fruit, one well one not quite so well think I should give them some attention ready for next year. 

One is an eating apple - red one, other cooking apple - sorry no other clues. The eating apple has produced masses of fruit even though a lot have dropped off being mouldy or eaten by something. There is much less fruit on the cooking apple and they seem to have suffered much more from being eaten and/or gone mouldy. 

What do I need to do from now on to get the best out of them for next year? I do know they can't be much older than 7 years and they are quite small, particularly the cooking apple which lies quite low on the ground. Looks like it has been staked but then fallen over at some point. 

Would be nice to see them flourish with a bit (or a lot) of TLC.

Very grateful for any advice. Sorry to be so vague, would definitely say they are French though. image

"To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin


  • Have they been eaten from the inside? If they have it's probably codling moth. Have a look at this RHS link

  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Hi Dordogne,     a good start would be to clear a one meter circle /square around each tree so no weeds or competition for rain ,comes March/April a good dose of Fish,Blood,and Bone,remember Potash is cheap and helps the trees to flower and fruit better,make sure they get good watering in the dry season, then see if they are getting pollinated properly ,if not and as we don't know the name of the trees a small crab apple will do the trick, excellent pollinators our garden center tells us ..good luck with the house and garden,,, exiting times ahead for you 

  • D0rdogne_DamselD0rdogne_Damsel Saint Yrieix La Perche, Haute Vienne/Dordogne border. FrancePosts: 3,380

    Thank you Fleurisa, good information. Like the idea of a trap to help identify timings. 

    Thank you Alan, I have cleared around the trees already, the poor things were very much buried in bracken and all sorts at first. Weeds still fighting through but at least manageable now. 

    When you say potash, can I use the ashes from our log burning fire? I presume I would have to sieve it or something (and obviously use it cold) but is that the same as bought potash?

    Off to garden centre too to find a nice crab apple, will fill a little space I have been wondering what to do with as well! 

    Do need a lot of luck with the garden, it is very big and well stocked, but poor thing has become a bit wild in places, definitely won't find semi - retirement here dull - and no need to join a gym either!

    Thanks again, on a mission now! image


    "To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin
  • Mel MMel M Posts: 347

    The addition of Nitrogen aids growth. The addition of Potash aids the quality of the fruit.

    Wood ash contains Potash. Old burnt wood contains more Potash than young burnt wood. Wood ash is suitable for just about all of the garden, especially when used as a winter mulch.

    My 1946 gardening book states that good quality wood ash can be used at any time of the year at a rate of 6/7oz per square yard. If you are using young wood to burn, triple this amount.

  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Hi D, if you are lucky enough to have fresh ash ,please be careful the wood was Not treated as this can cause problems ,if it is then a box of Potash/potassium,from the Garden center is ok.  I notice your garden is a large well stocked one,perhaps a good way forward might be thinking of the seasons to come as well as now maybe because of the size of the garden and cost,making your own food would be best,IE: Nettle Tea ,Comfry Tea, is all you would need ,Comfrey tea is all i use as a basic food for all the garden,for fruit trees /bushes i add a little Potash to the feed, At the beginning of Spring a good dose of Fish,Blood an Bone is what almost everybody does.,iv just bought FBB end of season half price for next year,box of potash will last me for ages, any probs let us know ,PS potassium was called potash as the people years ago saved in in pots,wasnt that interesting,good luck 

  • D0rdogne_DamselD0rdogne_Damsel Saint Yrieix La Perche, Haute Vienne/Dordogne border. FrancePosts: 3,380

    Thank you both. My logs are delivered in bulk and are cut especially for use on home fires so I would presume they have not been treated - they look 'au natural'.

    Have just made my first lot of nettle feed, there are enough nettles in this garden to keep me well supplied but I haven't used it yet, wasn't sure quite what to do with it actually, thought a bit late for feeding flowers and was actually wondering how long it keeps. Perhaps though I should give it the apple trees? You have to dilute it don't you?

    I am also picking up a trailer load of manure (for free) tomorrow and depending on how old it is thought that would be good anywhere around the garden. I have started making a small informal rosebed, nothing in it yet, but plan to dig in the manure for over winter. Have some bare root roses coming in November. 

    Also, sorry, you seem so knowledgeable, I make my own compost, but now leaves are falling wondered whther I should keep them separate or just add to main compost heap? Do they take longer to rot?

    Any more help gratefully received. image

    "To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin
  • Mel MMel M Posts: 347

    Animal manure should be 6 months old so that any acids 'mellow'. Fresh manure will scorch the roots of plants. For crops such as peas, beans and Brussels the manure (and compost) should be buried in a trench in Autumn. Manure can be used as a mulch in spring for plants such as fruit trees but keep it away from the stem or trunk .

    Leaves do indeed take longer to rot down than general plant material. Make some holes in black plastic bags with a garden fork, fill the bag with the leaves and a little soil to add organisms, add lots of water then place out of the way for at least a year. No need to close the bag.

    I would wait until the plants are growing before feeding with nettle water. It will keep but may pong a bit. Keep it covered so that any rain doesn't dilute it. The ratio is one mug full of nettle juice to a watering can of water.

    Best of luck.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,024

    Yes, DD, leaves do take longer to rot, and since leafmould is a wonderful soil improver for certain sorts of plant (and good for home-made seedling or potting compost), as well as great for mulching, it's worth collecting them into a cage made of chicken wire, or at a pinch, into bin bags.  They need to be damp to rot down, and take around 2-3 years until you can use them.

    You can of course shred your leaves (easily done by collecting them with a rotary mower) and add them to the compost heap instead if you want.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Mel MMel M Posts: 347

    I have some oak leaves in a black plastic bag and after 20 months they are no where near rotted. I am still going to dig them into a trench - probably rot faster then!

  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657

    Well Damsel it seems to me youv got lots of common sense and are definitely going the right way,,try to remember the Nettle feed is very high in Potash For instance, flowering or fruiting plants need the right nutrients to help sustain the growth of the bloom or the fruit. They need phosphorus to promote growth of the root and buds, as well as relatively larger volumes of potash to encourage healthy fruit or flower production. If you give flowering or fruiting plants too much nitrogen, the chances are that you’ll just encourage an abundance of leafy growth – and not much more. Not ideal for promoting flower blooms or a heavy fruit yield! . Comfrey is a little more balanced if you can get it,just adding potash to Nettle tea sounds good but the high nitrogen is Still there so doesn't work .a basic 15 to 1 comfry/nettle feed is a good alrounder . leaf mould as others have said takes ages but if you have the leaves and room i would go for it as leaf mould is wonderful stuff and when youv done it yourself the result is a personal triumph it really is. this year we moved house and inherited a full grown NON fruit producing fig tree,we trimmed it fed a comfry 15 to 1 and potash 2 gallon twice a week and figs are already appearing , home made foods are the way,TV,s Beechgrove tested bought food against Comfry comfry won. sorry to go on.bit dull erein Norfolkimage

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