Michael’s Apples November 2011 Fruit Tree Care Newsletter


Written by: Michael Janik, Owner of Michael’s Apples

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Internatonal Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, Nevada Nursery Dealer and Nevada Certified Pesticide Applicator


I got a modest harvest of apples in PV this year and a bumper crop of raspberries. My foray into beekeeping yielded 32 lbs of honey; I’m planning to start more hives next year. The hoop house in Reno gave my tomatoes and peppers a head start and saved them from the June frost; I harvested over 50 lbs tomatoes and put up 12 pints of jalapeno peppers.

I am scheduling fall pruning for apples and pears throughout November. Fall pruning, before the trees go completely dormant, can reduce the size and volume of large, older trees; smaller, younger trees should be pruned when completely dormant (winter to early spring). Please call my cell 722-6303 to schedule pruning.

I’m teaching several classes in the next few days; details in the newsletter (below).




I will be teaching a class on Growing Fruits and Berries at the Grow Your Own gardening series at Cooperative Extension in Reno on Nov 1 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The classes started on 9/20 and are linked via some high tech devices to several county offices statewide. Class descriptions and registration info is attached.

I will also be giving a talk on Growing Fruit Trees in Northern Nevada at the Fall Tree Care Seminar for the Carson City Shade Tree Council in Carson City on Nov 2, 2011. For information on the seminar, contact Lee-Ann Keever at leeannkeever@att.net.

I will be teaching two classes at TMCC this fall:  Pruning and Restoring Older Fruit Trees on Nov 2, 2011 and Growing Fruit Trees in Northern Nevada on Dec 1, 2011. To sign up, go to: http://truckee.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassListing.ClassListingDisplay&int_category_id=1&int_sub_category_id=2


November is the time to harvest fruit, rake leaves from around your trees, spread compost and mulch, and protect your tree trunks from sun scald in the winter.

Remove all fruit from trees and fallen fruit to get rid of overwintering insect pests. Rake mulch and leaves 12 to 18 inches away from the trunk to discourage mice and voles from nesting near and nibbling on the tree trunks.

Now is the time to guard your tree trunks from sun damage. Next time you pass a cherry tree, look at the southwest side of the trunk; most will show a damaged trunk on this side (about 7:00 when looking north). This damage is due to sunscald. When the temperatures in the winter are freezing, the sun heats up the water in the trunk facing the afternoon sun. The bark heats up enough to damage the bark cells; then the quick freeze at nightfall increase the damage.

Protect your tree by painting the trunk white before winter; off white, oyster, bridal veil, etc will also work. Use interior latex (water-base) paint and dilute 50/50 with water. Paint the lower portion of the trunk under the first set of limbs. Check the younger trees as winter progresses to see if limbs or upper portions of the trunk are being damaged and protect as needed.

I spread composted horse manure around my young trees each fall. I then cover with a 2 to 4 inch layer of straw mulch (mostly to keep horse manure compost from coming in the house on my shoes). Leaves (shredded to keep them in place) will also work. The manure feeds the earthworms that keep the soil aerated and permeable and the mulch keeps moisture in the soil.

Sources for compost or horse manure: In the Gardnerville area, try Full Circle Compost north of town for compost. I have seen ads for composted manure inWashoeValley. Most folks with horses will gladly part with some of their manure—try for someone who has the horses corralled and fed clean hay, rather than horses out foraging in a weed-infested pasture.

Remember that non-composted manure from cows, sheep, and poultry can be “hot” or high in nitrogen that will burn/damage plants and should not be applied directly. Those ‘green’ manures need ‘brown material’—straw, leaves, paper—added, mixed, and then composted before use. The horse provides the correct green/brown mix at the ‘source’ and can be applied directly, although, if given a choice, I’d use the stuff that’s been sitting around for a few months. And that’s the scoop on the poop.

Be sure to monitor soil moisture throughout the winter. I check soil moisture on the holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK day, President’s day, St. Patrick’s day—and then the not-so-festive-and-sometimes-evil Tax Day.

Thank a veteran November 11th and enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays.





 To subscribe to the monthly Fruit Tree Care Newsletter, email Michael Janik at michael@michaelsapples.com.