What do I use on my organic apple tree to produce perfect apples?

Asked March 11, 2015, 3:12 PM EDT

I have an apple tree in my yard that has never been sprayed or fertilized. Last summer it produced many apples. About half were flawed with a small bug spot etc, nothing that could not easily be cut away before eating. How do organic farmers produce more fruit that looks like it should be on the supermarket shelf. What are a few of their basic secrets?

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

The perfect apple is hard to obtain in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I suspect you have apple scab on your apples and not an insect related injury but that is a guess from your description. There are number of insect problems that can cause injury as well. The following outlines the problems (and some control tactics - organic or not) for various backyard fruit trees:

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec631

Organic growers will start with resistant cultivars, prune for an open canopy, thin out damaged fruit and use materials that are ok with their certifying agency. More information on apple scab can be found here:

http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/apple-malus-spp-scab