My first-year semi-dwarf Golden Delicious apples have lots of leaves, but there are small holes in the leaves, like something is eating them. What can I do?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Erika: There are a number of insects and other diseases that can cause problems with apple trees. It is difficult to say what is feeding on the foliage of your apple tree without seeing a sample. Horticultural oil is an organic option for most insects, but I hesitate to give you spraying recommendations without knowing what the problem is. We do know that insects and disease are more likely to occur on plant material that is not disease-resistant or is not living in optimal growing conditions. Apple trees require fertile, well-drained soil and at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Good sanitation practices are important for the health of your tree, so make sure to pull all surrounding weeds and any foliage that has fallen from the tree. It really is best if you can take a sample of the foliage to your County Cooperative Extension Service to get a positive identification from the horticulture/agriculture agent(s) and control options. The following is a publication from the University of Kentucky and the Cooperative Extension Service on controlling disease and insect problems with homegrown fruit in Kentucky: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id21/id21.pdf The Hardin County offices are located at 201 Peterson Drive in Elizabethtown. The phone number is (270) 765-4121.