Care of the Orchard

page from an antique horticulture book describing how to prune an apple tree
"The Pruning-book; a Monograph
of the Pruning and Training of
Plants as Applied to American
Conditions" by Liberty Hyde
Bailey, 1898

Pruning is done late in the winter while the apple trees are dormant.  Trimming and removing branches in a controlled way is necessary in order to shape the tree, allowing maximum sunlight to reach all the fruit.  Apples develop their best skin color with full sunlight during the last few weeks before harvest.

Apple buds appear in early spring and the tree blossoms a few weeks later.  In order to develop into an apple, the blossom must be cross-pollinated from a different variety of apple.  Farmers set beehives throughout their orchards, for honeybees are efficient pollinators.  A tree will begin to bear fruit between three and five years of age.