I just bought a house in midtown that has a giant apple tree in the back...

Asked May 26, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

I just bought a house in midtown that has a giant apple tree in the back yard. Per my neighbors the apples get everywhere and most are infested with worms. They are budding. 2 questions- Can I spray the tree to prevent or limit infestation? What is the cost of trimming a giant tree?? Thanks Michael michaelwhiteotr@aol.com 1-323-445-0898

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Maintaining a healthy apple tree and harvesting mostly disease and pest free apples takes dedication and knowledge. Proper pruning is very important for tree health and apple production. Apple trees are pruned in late winter/early spring in an effort to cut down on the spread of disease so now is too late in the season unless there are dead branches or those that present a safety hazard to people or property. You will have to check with a tree service to get an estimate on pruning costs. If you do some of it yourself, here is a publication that explains how to properly prune and rejuvenate an old apple tree: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/130222.html To learn more about general apple tree care in the home garden read this University of Minnesota publication: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/apples-and-pears-in-minnesota-home-gardens/

Apple trees can be managed in different ways to control insect problems. There are fairly standard spraying protocols you can use. There's a straight forward one in this publication from Oregon State: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/ec631_0.pdf

If you want to limit the number of different chemicals and their amounts, here is another publication discussing ways to scout for, identify, and control pests while using conventional pesticides or organic ones only when necessary. Read more here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/apple-pest-management/

Whatever you decide to do, any pesticides must be applied after your tree is done blooming otherwise you risk killing pollinators like bees that you need to pollinate the tree. Finally, thoroughly read any chemical product label before you use it, store it, or toss it, and follow directions exactly to minimize adverse effects to people, pets, or other wildlife.

Thank you for contacting Extension.