Michael’s Apples Releases October 2013 Fruit Tree Care Newsletter


Michael's ApplesAutumn has arrived.

I will be out of town from Sept 24 through Oct 23, so please excuse me if I don’t answer emails promptly; my phone will be turned off. I will be scheduling fall pruning in late October and November when I return.



  • Master Gardener Volunteers Training Interviews: University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will offer the Master Gardener Training in the spring of 2014. An orientation for prospective volunteers will be held on November 4, 2013, at 10:00 am. Master Gardeners are volunteers that donate 50 hrs of time their first year and 30 hours/year in subsequent years. Their main focus is educating the public by answering questions about gardening over the phone and in person in the cooperative extension office. If you are interested in taking the training class and volunteering, more information is available online.
  • You might want to add http://www.bellavistafarmllc.com in Gardnerville to your favorites list. They are growing berries, grapes, and apples; just starting, but will have fruits next fall. Just missed the giant pumpkin contest there last weekend….next year!
  • Another newsletter member, Bill Dolak, grows tropical fruits indoors in Reno. He sells these trees also, so if you are interested in a banana, blood orange, or others, you can contact him at BDolak@Melling.com for his sales list.
  • Neil Bertrando, permaculture guru, will be hosting Eric Toensmeier to teach an Edible Forest Gardening course at Urban Roots in early October. For information, visit the website.
  • October is the time to check and cut back on watering and to start preparing the trees for the winter. I will be giving a good, deep soaking to my yards and trees just before Halloween. I then check soil moisture every holiday through the winter and water as needed.
  • Be sure to pick up and discard all fallen fruit to remove insect eggs and larvae in the fruit. Pick all fruit off trees or they become hotels for insect pests to overwinter. Rake the mulch, leaves, and other debris away from the trunk to prevent small rodents from nesting there and eating the bark; leave about a foot of clear space for young trees and 18 to 24 inches for older trees. Paint tree trunks with 50/50 mix of interior latex paint and water to prevent sunscald. Peaches may need some paint on the upper side of limbs exposed to the southwest.
  • Many varieties of apples and pears ripen in October.  Apples are ripe when the pips (seeds) are dark brown to black. To properly pick, twist the apple and lift; it should come off easily in your hand. Don’t jerk the fruit as it will damage or break off the fruiting spur. Some apples need to be eaten immediately or they will get soft and mushy. Many late varieties, however, will keep crisp and well into the winter. Try storing your apples in a paper bag, box, or breathable plastic to let them ripen and develop more flavor. I put mine in my unheated, un-insulated garage; some, like Honeycrisp and Newtown Pippin were crisp and firm (and very flavorful) in March (when I ate the last one). Also, don’t worry about picking before the first frost. The apples will not be damaged by a light frost that kills the tomatoes and the flavor of those apples may be further developed and enhanced—ditto with carrots, beets, etc.
  • For folks who have seen rabbits, moles, voles, gophers, and other vermin in their yards, you will want to put on a plastic tree guard or a wire guard (like ¼ inch hardware cloth) around the trunk. These are just for the winter and need to be removed in the spring. (If not removed in May, earwigs will nest inside the plastic and the tree will grow into the wire). You will also want to trap or otherwise eradicate these pests that eat the bark and or roots this winter.

Hope your gardens are producing and you are setting in stores for the winter.