After giving up on growing raspberries for a number of years I planted 24 Autumn Britten in 2013. I chose this variety because they would bear after the Japanese Beetles passed through our area, around mid to late summer. This year the plants produced a huge crop of well formed berries from August until the mid October frost. I picked about 2 quarts per week, freezing most of the berries to make jam at a later date. They were excellent for jam because of their small, soft seed. I usually mill out most of the seeds when I make jam but this really wasn’t necessary because of the seed texture. Other than top dressing the plants with some composted manure in the early spring, I didn’t apply any other sprays. I did have stink bugs on the plants in the late summer but they only damaged a few of the fruits.
I hope readers who live the in SW Ohio area will share the names of fruits that have performed well for them.
When to remove trees or fruit bushes: the easy answer is when they are dead. Care needs to be taken with the dead plants since they are usually hosting a disease of some sort. Remove and burn the plant or compost it far from your orchard. Remember to clean and disinfect all of your tools afterwards.
For low performing or weak plants, one needs to weigh the plus/minus analysis as to why the plant should stay. If the fruit is wonderful, I will prune, adjust the nutrition and coddle a plant for a few years to see if the vigor returns. After that period, for the health of the whole orchard, I remove any plants that could spread disease to the other trees or have your reaching for the strongest chemicals.
If possible, try to identify the disease that weakened your plant. There are varieties that have greater resistance to specific problems and perhaps you should consider one of those when picking a new tree.
If the plant is healthy but the flavor and quality of the fruit is low, I will remove it as well. There are too many wonderful varieties available to settle for mediocre fruit.
As harvest approaches for apple trees, it is a good idea to walk around your trees and observe how things look on August 1st. Look at your overall pruning job and take note as to what you should change next year. Is there adequate airflow through the tree? Can sunlight reach all of the fruits? How do the leaves look? And of course the fruit: clean? insect damage? fungal issues? size of fruit?
Each tree has different issues and by observing them individually throughout the season you can address some of those needs pre-emptively next year. Be sure to take good notes in your journal
The fire blight season is in full swing now so keep a close eye on your trees. I will attach an article from University of Kentucky and a good article about the approved use of antibiotics in fighting this disease. If you have Michael Phillips book, The Holistic Orchard, he has a discussion on this topic as well.
I will also provide a list of disease resistant apples for our area. This is a combined list from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Disease Resistant Apples for Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky
Ashmead’s Kernel (ML)
Northern Spy (ML)
Turley Winesap (ML)
(the ones listed with (ML) have done well at Hayfields)