…starts by being particular in not only which location you are wanting to grow, but also in the selection of trees that you are planting in the first place. Sunlight, airflow, and several other components like diversity in available plants and even habitat for beneficial insects need to be present for anyone to be successful here.
There is one thing though that commonly gets overlooked when folks are choosing apple trees. That one thing is the natural disease resistance of certain cultivars. Disease resistant cultivars like Pristine, Liberty, and Williams Pride are only a small selection of disease resistant trees but happen to be some of my favorites. This is one advantage you will want to use.
It is very possible to grow apples naturally. Putting all the pieces together to get this done is very much like emulating the forest edge. Things are naturally working very well on the forest edge if we allow it to.
Choosing disease resistant apple cultivars is towards the top of the pyramid. If I were to start from scratch and choose some apple trees, I most likely would take trees that were resistant to Apple Scab. Next, cultivars that had resistance to Fireblight would be chosen. So on and so forth…
By choosing these disease resistant cultivars, you are very much reducing or in some cases eliminating the need for continuous fungicide sprays. Let’s face it, sometimes we might not have the time it takes for this, so wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to deal with as much disease pressure?
While choosing the correct apple cultivars is very important, it is also important to understand what emulating the forest edge is, which is the next step. This is to be diversified in the plantings under and around the trees. It is important to note that this area isn’t for competitive plants, but beneficial and supporting plants. Mulching plants to out compete grasses. Nutrient accumulating plants to make nutrients more available to the trees. There are even nitrogen fixing plants that pull double duty being extremely beneficial to pollinators.
Dealing with pest insects can be tricky to overcome, however in a backyard situation it is not as difficult to solve as you may think. Knowledge and Timeliness are the key components to overcoming too much damage from pest insects. Knowing exactly what insect you are dealing with will help with any counter measures needed to take. No shotgun approaches needed when you know what you’re up against and why the pest is there in the first place.
This is the beginning of a more natural journey you can be on. Grow with us.