How can I fix this


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We've moved to a new house that has a large mature apple tree. I suspect the tree has been neglected for years as we found a lot of leftover fruits dried still on it. The tree produces a lot of apples, but all of them are damaged by insect/caterpillars.
First, could you please help me identify the cause? I am attaching a pic of the fruit damage.
Second, I suspect this will take a multi-season battle to get rid of the pest. I would highly appreciate any suggestions on how to properly plan it out, what pesticides to use, etc.
Thanks.
 

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Your tree is being attacked by codling moths. Spinosad and Bt are somewhat effective but you should talk to professionals in your area for the best treatment methods. The timing of the applications to kill the moth and then the caterpillar are of upmost importance. The codling moth flies in and lays an egg on the apple and then the egg hatches and the resulting caterpillar eats his way into the apple.
 
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Thanks. Is there anything I can do before Fall/Winter to reduce the problem for next season, besides removing all left over fruit?
 
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Clean under the tree VERY thoroughly.
Out of interest, would you do this routinely?

Fallen leaves and fruit are nature's fertilizer for the tree. So I see a strong case for letting the leaves around trees lie. But do you risk disease if you do this? I know that thorough clean up is recommended for scab too.

Also, would you put the fallen leaves/fruit on the compost heap? I mean routinely - so I'm talking in preventative terms.
 
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Out of interest, would you do this routinely?

Fallen leaves and fruit are nature's fertilizer for the tree. So I see a strong case for letting the leaves around trees lie. But do you risk disease if you do this? I know that thorough clean up is recommended for scab too.

Also, would you put the fallen leaves/fruit on the compost heap? I mean routinely - so I'm talking in preventative terms.
Yes, keep areas under fruit trees as spotless as you can. A good layer of mulch out to the dripline is also a very good thing to do. Keeping leaves and fruit away from the tree helps suppress numerous bacteria and fungal diseases. Also many insects/pupae overwinter in the debris to emerge in the spring, climb the trunk (as sometimes is the case with codling moth pupae). If you didn't notice anything wrong with the leaves, i.e. fungal spots, they should be fine in the compost pile. The secret to a successful orchard is mostly preventative. On all deciduous fruit trees one should also spray an oil such as Neem or horticultural oil each spring before bud break to kill any eggs that may have overwintered.
 
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Yes, keep areas under fruit trees as spotless as you can. A good layer of mulch out to the dripline is also a very good thing to do. Keeping leaves and fruit away from the tree helps suppress numerous bacteria and fungal diseases. Also many insects/pupae overwinter in the debris to emerge in the spring, climb the trunk (as sometimes is the case with codling moth pupae). If you didn't notice anything wrong with the leaves, i.e. fungal spots, they should be fine in the compost pile. The secret to a successful orchard is mostly preventative. On all deciduous fruit trees one should also spray an oil such as Neem or horticultural oil each spring before bud break to kill any eggs that may have overwintered.
Thanks for this. I've been on completely the wrong track with my fruit trees.

We've had a bad year with our Crab Apple. It's been neglected for 14 years but it always struggled along. Last year was the first year we didn't mow under the tree (thus not regularly picking up all the leaves/fruit along with grass clippings). We created a little wild flower area under the tree so let the fruit and leaves stay last Autumn. It COULD just be due to the very dry spring/summer, or maybe it's because we left the leaves/fruit to rot. But it lost most of it's leaves before we got into Summer and I am suspicious that it's Crab Apple Scab.
 
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Thanks for this. I've been on completely the wrong track with my fruit trees.

We've had a bad year with our Crab Apple. It's been neglected for 14 years but it always struggled along. Last year was the first year we didn't mow under the tree (thus not regularly picking up all the leaves/fruit along with grass clippings). We created a little wild flower area under the tree so let the fruit and leaves stay last Autumn. It COULD just be due to the very dry spring/summer, or maybe it's because we left the leaves/fruit to rot. But it lost most of it's leaves before we got into Summer and I am suspicious that it's Crab Apple Scab.
If you even think that you might have Scab, it is IMPERATIVE for you to KEEP the area under the tree as debris clean as possible and never under any circumstance let any of the debris overwinter. It is much easier to kill everything under the tree and apply about 3 inches of hardwood mulch.
 
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Your tree is being attacked by codling moths. Spinosad and Bt are somewhat effective but you should talk to professionals in your area for the best treatment methods. The timing of the applications to kill the moth and then the caterpillar are of upmost importance. The codling moth flies in and lays an egg on the apple and then the egg hatches and the resulting caterpillar eats his way into the apple.
Are there any good tricks to determine the correct timing? What should I be looking for as a signal to spray?
 
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Are there any good tricks to determine the correct timing? What should I be looking for as a signal to spray?
Start your spray regimen at bud swell with Neem OIl. This will kill any eggs and insects that have overwintered. When you have fruit set prune to open up the interior of the tree and spray again with Neem. About every 2-3 weeks thereafter spray the fruit with Bt to kill the codling caterpillars if there are any. If you see any caterpillar damage at any time on any part of the tree spray again with Bt. If you see any insect damage spray with spinosad. If your see any fungal diseases or spots on leaves spray again with Neem. But your local growers know more about when to spray in your area than I do.
 
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Out of interest, would you do this routinely?

Fallen leaves and fruit are nature's fertilizer for the tree. So I see a strong case for letting the leaves around trees lie. But do you risk disease if you do this? I know that thorough clean up is recommended for scab too.

Also, would you put the fallen leaves/fruit on the compost heap? I mean routinely - so I'm talking in preventative terms.
Thorough composting kills most things, then you can return the compost to the tree disease free. Keeping things clean and tidy and so that you get a good air flow is a good general principal for prevention of all sorts of disease anywhere in the garden.
 

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