Apples: RHS demonstrates how to thin apple trees
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Many gardens across the UK have fruit trees like apple trees, pear trees and plum trees. Apple trees are one of the most common and can produce an abundance of fruit once a year. With September now in full swing, those with apple trees will be noticing the fruit begin to ripen and drop off the tree.
Gardeners’ World lead host Monty Don has shared which jobs gardeners should be doing in September on his latest blog post.
The gardening expert shared how to tell whether apples are ripe, how to pick apples and then store them so they last “for months”.
Monty wrote: “Start to pick over any apples at least once a week, checking to see if any are ripe by holding them in the palm of your hand and gently lifting and twisting to see if the stalk comes away easily.
“Do not force it as when it is ready they always pick very easily.
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“If apples are to be stored successfully – and if carefully placed in a cool, dark fairly moist place they will keep for months.
“They must be picked without any bruises or blemishes and any windfall, however seemingly perfect, will not keep and should be eaten fresh or cooked and then frozen.
“If you have more windfalls than you can possibly eat or process, consider hiring an apple press to make juice which can then be bottled and stored.”
Some apple trees will have begun to ripen in August but most will continue to ripen in September and October.
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It’s best to pick apples as they ripen to avoid them dropping to the ground and becoming damaged.
Apple trees don’t only provide fruit but are a focal point in spring when they produce beautiful blossom.
Over the summer months, gardeners should have pruned back their apple trees to encourage flowering and fruiting.
Once the tree has produced its apples, the leaves will fall as we move into winter.
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In the winter months, the tree will need pruning again to control its shape and size.
This is also a great time to check for any disease or health problems.
Prune the tree by removing congested, crossing or badly placed stems to create a more open network of branches.
Opening up the tree will allow it to access more light and will bring more air into the middle of the tree.
Apples don’t usually get too many problems but they can get apple sawfly, scab and mould.
If there is white fluff on any shoots, this is woolly aphid which can be scrubbed off or pruned out.
There are a plethora of different apple tree varieties which include Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley and Falstaff.
Gardeners’ World airs on Friday at 8pm on BBC Two.
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