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Make sure apple trees you plant start out healthy
Georgia Consumer
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Question: I want to plant several apples trees in my backyard this fall. How do I select quality plants?

Answer: Be careful in purchasing apple trees. Often, bargain plants are not healthy or may not be a variety adapted to your area. Buy only trees of recommended varieties from a reliable source.

Listed below are a few points to keep in mind when purchasing apple trees:

The preferred type of tree for planting is a healthy, 1-year-old whip that is approximately 4-to-6-feet tall and has a good root system.

A small tree with a well-developed root system is more desirable than a large tree with a poor root system.

Trees that are 2 years old or older do not usually grow as well as 1-year-old trees. Frequently, older trees do not have sufficient buds on the lower portion of the trunk to develop a good framework.

Do not purchase trees that appear stunted, poorly grown, diseased or insect-injured. Check the trees closely to make sure that you are getting the variety and rootstock that you desire.

For more information on planting and care of apple trees in your area, contact your county extension agent.

Q: Why did my peaches turn brown and rot this summer?

A: Brown Rot is a common fungus disease that infects the twigs and fruit of peach trees. Twig infection results in the development of cankers on the branches and stems and petal blight on the flowers. Canker and blight in turn produce spores that infect the fruit. The fruit initially has a brown spot which expands to rot the entire fruit into a "mummy."

These mummies cling to the tree or fall to the ground and allow the fungus to overwinter. For disease control it is critical to remove mummies and infected twigs as soon as they appear. Also, good insect control is particularly important as unblemished green fruit is not as susceptible to disease infection. The fungus needs a wound to enter these fruit.

Pruning the trees annually also aids in spray coverage, air circulation and good disease control. For severe infections, treat peach trees with a recommended home orchard spray product.

If you have questions or problems with services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture you may write the Office of Public Affairs, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 226, Atlanta, GA 30334 or call 800-282-5852.; e-mail, info@agr.state.ga.us; Web site, agr.state.ga.us. This column appears Sundays and at gainesvilletimes.com.

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