New Prairie Spy Tree

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stevetyks
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56 pm

New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by stevetyks » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:14 pm

I put one Prairie Spy tree in the back yard of my office here in central Maine, Skowhegan to be exact. This tree was planted nearly 3 years ago. It is about 6-7 feat tall. It is a semi dwarf. I was surprised to see apples on it already, about 18 in total. Today, I went to look at the apples as they are turning to the mature color of green/red. It is only August 19. Some apples have already fallen to the ground. I thought this was supposed to be late season apple. Is this normal? Should I pick the rest soon? Does late season mean they taste better later on, or keep longer than others, even though they seem ready now. Also, several have large gashes in them. I wonder what that is. When should I prune this thing, as some limbs are getting quite long and asymmetrical. It is in between some lilacs but has good sun. Maybe I need more sun to get it to grow more symmetrically. Thanks for any pointers on this.

Chuck Rhode
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by Chuck Rhode » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:28 pm

stevetyks wrote:Some apples have already fallen to the ground. I thought this was supposed to be late season apple. Is this normal?
Most varieties are prone to summer drop, and it is prevalent in some. Young trees may set more fruit than can be brought to maturity. This is the trees' way of adjusting midseason.

Also fruit infested with coddling moths may appear to ripen and drop after the larva consume the seeds. Likewise, fruit not evenly pollinated may drop.
stevetyks wrote:Should I pick the rest soon? Does late season mean they taste better later on, or keep longer than others, even though they seem ready now.
Yes, some varieties improve with storage, and some keep longer than others. These things are said more often of late season varieties such as Spys. However, they should ripen on the tree. You can tell they're ripe by tasting them. You can see they're ripe by cutting through the core and checking the color of the seeds. They should be dark. Coloring of the skin around the blossom end is yet another indicator in non-green-skinned varieties.
stevetyks wrote:Also, several have large gashes in them. I wonder what that is.
Perhaps birds have sampled your crop. After the tree is larger and you have more invested, you may wish to deploy netting.
stevetyks wrote:When should I prune this thing, as some limbs are getting quite long and asymmetrical.
Young trees should be pinched back in midsummer to discourage long limbs from running and to promote side growth, not to remove growth. (Water sprouts may be removed anytime up to 1/4 of the canopy.) You may remove growth in late winter to change the shape of the tree.

stevetyks
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by stevetyks » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:11 pm

Thanks for the thorough advice. I don't think the gashes or better described as splits, are from birds. Maybe it is like cherries. I think cherries split if they get too wet on the tree. Man, what a wet summer. Each apple has usually one large split about an inch or more much more in length, about a centimeter or more wide at the widest part.

Chuck Rhode
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by Chuck Rhode » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:47 am

stevetyks wrote:Thanks for the thorough advice. I don't think the gashes or better described as splits, are from birds. Maybe it is like cherries. I think cherries split if they get too wet on the tree. Man, what a wet summer. Each apple has usually one large split about an inch or more much more in length, about a centimeter or more wide at the widest part.
Have you fertilized the tree?

stevetyks
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by stevetyks » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:20 am

Yep, I put some miracle grow on it, last year and a couple of times earlier this season. I don't intend to use that in the future. I did not expect apples so soon, after planting. I intend to use dried organic manure unless you advise otherwise.

Chuck Rhode
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by Chuck Rhode » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:55 pm

stevetyks wrote:Yep, I put some miracle grow on it, last year and a couple of times earlier this season. ... I intend to use dried organic manure unless you advise otherwise.
Young trees can use the nitrogen (N) for vegetative growth. I'm told some varieties are prone to fruit splitting, though, when getting too much. Probably at this point your interest in the crop is secondary to getting the tree established. You can cut back in later years if the problem persists. I believe Miracle Grow is a water-soluble house-plant food. I put just a dab of (something like that from K-Mart, I believe) in the tank mix for cover sprays.

stevetyks
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: New Prairie Spy Tree

Post by stevetyks » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:56 am

Chuck,

Your are right, I just put the MG to it because it was handy and did not expect fruit for a couple years. I would not put chemicals (or very little) on food plants. I am confident it will become a good tree once it settles down in a few more seasons.

Steve

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