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Fall Planting of Apples

Mario Miranda Sazo, Cultural Practices
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

November 20, 2013

 The weather is cooperating, the soil is on the semidry side, and harvest is almost finished in Western NY. This has some growers thinking about a head start on next spring's work.  In recent years, fall planting has become the norm for a few Western NY growers who have successfully planted in the fall for several consecutive years. These new orchards have shown a strong growth the first year compared to spring planted trees. Fall planted trees have also shown better blooming synchrony with older established orchards and thus are more likely to be protected for fireblight with streptomycin spray programs on the farm.  While new spring planted trees bloom later than established orchards when temperatures are warmer, they are at higher risk of blossom blight if left unprotected or with fewer streptomycin sprays.
Fall planting can also be a good strategy to avoid planting delays in the spring due to unpredictable rainy weather conditions and/or late snow cover. Sometimes a grower can lose 30 or 40 days just waiting for the soil to be dry out to the right moisture conditions when trying to plant early in the spring. Fall planting also allows early root establishment and maximum tree growth which are critical for a new high density planting the first year. But is fall the best time to plant, or are there any problems or concerns to consider?
Successful fall planting requires a combination of conditions: (1) a well-prepared site with good drainage, weeds under control and minimal rodent and deer populations, (2) mild weather and warm soil temperatures for several weeks after planting to encourage root establishment, (3) nursery trees that begin their dormancy process early, including leaf drop, (4) a nursery supplier that is willing to fall dig trees, (5) sufficient labor to plant trees quickly without drying, and (6) proper soil conditions to re-close the soil around the roots without leaving air pockets.  The soil should flow when plowed or disced to allow the soil to flow around the roots as the tree planter passes. This last point is probably the most critical.  There are some fall seasons in Western NY that are just too wet and proper soil conditions are never achieved after Oct 15.  It is a costly mistake to 'mud' tree in if the soil is too wet.  This can lead to tree dessication and death. In those years we recommend that the trees be left in the nursery or stored until the spring.
If you can satisfy the 6 conditions listed above, the following practical tips can help you have a successful fall planting:
1. Nursery trees need to experience cool temperatures and short daylengths to encourage dormancy. Frost will promote leaf fall, and some nurserymen use copper sprays to encourage leaf abscission. If the trees are moved before dormancy, they could begin to grow again, which could predispose them to winter injury.
2. Once the trees show signs of dormancy, they can be dug and moved. Total leaf removal is necessary only if trees will be in storage for some time, to prevent diseases. It is critical to prevent roots from drying out, especially since they may not be fully dormant.  Use covering tarps and wet down any roots that seem dry.
3. The roots and soil need to be in intimate contact immediately after planting to ensure the trees survive. Where a tree planter is used, the presser wheels need to be adjusted properly. Hand planted trees should be tramped well around the trunk. A follow-up watering is recommended if a soaking rain does not occur within a few days.
4. There is a risk of winter injury with fall planted apple trees, especially to the lower trunk and scaffold branches, because they are the last to harden off fully. Mounding up soil up to twenty inches around the trunk has an insulating effect against sudden freezes, and can be left to prevent insects from boring into the rootstock but it should be removed the next spring to prevent scion rooting.
If all these precautions are followed, fall planting of apple trees can help your new orchard get off to a quick start next spring.



more crops
Apples

Apples

Apricots

Apricots

Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Blueberries

Blueberries

Cherries

Cherries

Currants

Currants

Gooseberries

Gooseberries

Nectarines

Nectarines

Peaches

Peaches

Pears

Pears

Plums

Plums

Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries

Strawberries

Strawberries

Unusual Fruit

Unusual Fruit

more crops

Upcoming Events

2024 Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings

Event Offers DEC Credits

April 25, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 1 of 4
Newark, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology and pest management, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

May 30, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 2 of 4
Lockport, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

June 27, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 3 of 4
Penn Yan, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.


Event Offers DEC Credits

July 25, 2024 : Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings 4 of 4
Mexico, NY

Join specialists Janet Van Zoeren, Anya Osatuke, Robert Hadad, and Anna Wallis for a conversation about fruit and berry phenology, pest management, food safety and water quality, at a new location each month.

View 2024 Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meetings Details

Apple Social

July 16, 2024 : Orleans County - Apple Social
Medina, NY

Please join us at this casual networking event for all apple industry folks from Western NY, proudly sponsored by Valent. There will just a brief introduction of the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, and from each of the four specialists.


July 31, 2024 : Wayne County - Apple Social
Williamson, NY

Please join us at this casual networking event for all apple industry folks from Western NY, proudly sponsored by Valent. There will just a brief introduction of the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, and from each of the four specialists.

View Apple Social Details

2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 13, 2024
Medina, NY

We are excited to announce the second annual Western New York Fruit Grower Tour, the premier fruit tour of the northeast brought to you by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Lake Ontario Fruit Program and Lake Ontario Ag Consulting, LLC!  Located in Orleans County, this orchard field day will highlight new and existing products, chemistries, practices, technologies & equipment that shape the orchard industry today. The Western NY Fruit Grower Tour will again combine two past orchard tour events, the LOF Summer Fruit Tour and the Wayne County Fruit Grower Tour, giving industry members the opportunity to conveniently showcase their product offerings to ONE unified group at ONE time and place!

View 2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour Details

Announcements

Scaffolds podcast

Many of you probably read Art Agnello's statewide tree fruit updates and recommendations newsletter, "Scaffolds". Dr. Monique Rivera is bringing it back, but in a new audio version. Episode one was recorded this week, and is now available for free online at https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/scaffolds


NYS Tree Decline Survey

Your answers could help find the solution to tree decline in the orchard.
NYS Tree Decline Survey


Save the Date! - Scroll down for Upcoming Events

Have you missed a meeting recently? Scroll down for available recordings or pdf links or visits our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/LakeOntarioFruitProgram

2024 Events:

18 Jun - Postponed WNY Bilingual Soil Health & Beneficial Fungi Meeting - Check back for future reschedule date!

20 Jun - 2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series 'Water Wisdom" Smart Watering: Practices for Irrigation Management - 7PM, Zoom

25 Jun - Virtual IPM Orchard Scout Training 2 - 1:30 - 3pm, Zoom

27 Jun - Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meeting 3_4 - 6:30pm-8:30PM, Penn Yan

27 Jun - 2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series 'Water Wisdom" Water Wisdom Unplugged: Panelist Q&A - 7PM, Zoom

29 Jun - NYS Honeyberry Conference - 8:30am - 4:30pm, Mexico, Space is limited, register now!

16 July - Apple Social - 6-9 PM, LynOaken Farm Market & Winery, Medina.

25 Jul - Tree Fruit & Small Fruit Twilight Meeting 4_4 - 6:30pm-8:30PM, Mexico

31 July - Apple Social - 6-9 PM, VanAcker Farms, Williamson.

13 Aug - 2nd Annual WNY Fruit Grower Tour - Orleans County

17 Aug - Annual Hispanic Summer Tour - Orleans County, Details to follow!

Feb 4-5, 2025 - Western NY Fruit Conference - DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Rochester



Food Safety Virtual Office Hours

Cornell Institute of Food Safety "Virtual Office Hours", Tuesdays Noon to 1pm https://cals.cornell.edu/institute-for-food-safety/resources/virtual-office-hours

Past recorded virtual office hours can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZJs5b7KUuvfcquH3ZtQHo5dSmF2m5MdQ


Webinar Recordings & Additional Meeting Materials

Check out the recordings of some recent webinars and/or conference materials from in person events: Recordings and Playlists are available at https://www.youtube.com/c/LakeOntarioFruitProgram

2024 Virtual Orchard Meetup Series - Water Wisdom: 
1/4 - Trends In Water Availability
2/4 - The Role of Water In Tree Fruit Physiology & Quality
3/4 - Smart Watering: Practices for Irrigation Management


2024 8-12 mm Thinning Meeting

2024 Capital Region & Western NY Petal Fall Thinning Meeting

2024 Statewide Pink Meeting

2024 Cornell Statewide Frost Protection Webinar

2024 Winter Fruit Webinars playlist on the NYS IPM Program YouTube Channel

2nd Annual Lake Ontario Fruit Program's Winter Fruit Conference - 2024 pdfs

PACMAN Details and Resources, Meeting Recording Links below:
Developers Conference for Precision Crop Load Management of Apples Playlist - 2024
PACMAN Briefing - 2023








Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links


Meeting Recordings Now Available

Did you miss the recent meeting?  Check and see if we recorded it and added it to our website or Lake Ontario Fruit Program YouTube Channel.

Honeycrisp Meetup recordings available here.

Why are my trees growing so poorly? recording available here.

Additional Recorded Webinars listing with recording and resource link are available at
https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=838&crumb=crops|crops|apples|crop*38



New Publication on Growing Pawpaws

Are you a fan of pawpaws? These custardy fruits can be hard to come across, so this guide provides information on how to grow your own pawpaw from seed, and how to care for grafted seedlings. Pdf on growing now available.​ https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=799&crumb=crops|crops|unusual_fruit|crop*50

New Weed Management Technology Survey

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research. A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. Weed Technology Survey link: https://cornell.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bEpfAijoP7puQDP

For more information on this survey please visit http://blogs.cornell.edu/swd1/2020/12/02/new-weed-management-technology/


Pollinator Webinar Series - Summer 2020

The Pollinator Webinar Series presented by Penn State cover bee health and pollination services.



Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

A reference table created by Janet van Zoeren and Anna Wallis, is now available at https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=711&crumb=pests|pests.

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