“We had all kinds of apple trees in the yard when I was growing up, so I don’t know for sure which ones Mother liked best for applesauce. (Today I use Cortlands.) I do know that her applesauce was very white. The secret, she said, was to keep the apples in salt water while she peeled them so that they wouldn’t darken.” —Doris Natvig, Jesup, Iowa
Apple trees are somewhat slow to become established, but they often bear for many years when given good care. Fruit set is usually best when you plant more than one variety, and dwarf trees take up very little space. The spring blossoms are beautiful and often fragrant, and you can save the pruned wood for barbecue season.
The majority of apple pests can be controlled with one dormant spray plus the controls specified in the chart, if the pest is identified. The dormant spray goes on just as buds open. When applying sprays in the spring, avoid spraying at times when pollinating insects are present. Applying a repellent garlic extract spray may deter apple pests overall.