when to quit watering apple trees in the fall

Asked October 8, 2017, 11:04 AM EDT

I live in a zone 2 area, planted apple trees this spring and was wondering when to quit watering them in the fall. Frost is starting now in the evenings but warming up to 10C during the day. Also was going to put 6" of mulch down for the winter. Any help would be appreciated on this

Outside United States

1 Response

Thanks for your question about watering your apple trees. Plants only utilize water effectively when they are photosynthesizing, and they need leaves to do that. So, once the leaves begin to turn yellow, and brown, and then drop off, you can stop any supplemental watering. This typically happens in the fall, and nature takes care of it once the rains begin. I can't tell from your question how far north you are, so supplying you information appropriate to your region is difficult, but this is an excellent Extension article about home orchard care, generally.

As for mulching, the guidance is:

"Keep an area at least 12 inches away from the tree trunk free of grasses and weeds. Mulch applied 2 to 3 inches deep over the root zone can help control weeds and conserve soil moisture."

However, be certain that the mulch is not so compacted that it actually keeps moisture out, rather than helping to hold it in. If you pull the mulch back after a good rain or watering, and you find that the soil remains dry, cut down on the depth of the mulch.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck!