Homepage 5 Fruit growing 5 Apple 5 Organic apple farming

Organic apple farming

If someone decides to grow apples organically or to switch to conventional apple cultivation, they must first choose one of the monitoring stations where they need to request monitoring, followed by a three-year transitional period, and if they follow all the rules, they get a certificate for organic production. The position of the plantation is also important, the plot must be 50 meters away from the road and from major pollutants.
The documentation is not too demanding, but during the entire production, a record of ecological production is kept. The amounts of the basic payment increased by the payment for ecological agriculture in apple cultivation can reach more than HRK 6,000.00/ha.

Apple fertilization

The basis of fertilization in organic production is mature manure from domestic animals and compost from plant waste. The content of humus, improvement of soil structure and activity of microorganisms is most effectively increased by using mature manure or compost obtained from properly disposed organic waste (straw, leaves, grass and other organic waste).

Fertilizers used in organic apple cultivation must originate from one’s own farm or obtained from farms where mixed organic production takes place.  Slurries and slurries that need to be diluted, plant-based preparations, by-products of processing, fish and seaweed products, sawdust and wood waste can be used for fertilization. It is allowed to use fertilizers made from ground rocks and soil that contain phosphorus, and wood ash that enriches the soil with potassium. It is not allowed to use industrial mineral fertilizers in organic apple cultivation. After planting apple trees, care should be taken that the intensity of fertilization does not affect the quality of apple fruit yield. During the first year, young apple seedlings should not be encouraged to grow too much. They can be fed with compost, stone flour and a layer of mulch. Adult fruit trees are fed every two years in order to preserve their fertility. It is not recommended to use fresh liquid manure for feeding, which causes wild growth and susceptibility to diseases.

Objava reklama HR 1Objava reklama HR 1

Apple planting

The success of apple production also depends on the preparation of the soil for planting fruit trees. Preparation of the soil for raising apple plantations begins with deep plowing (undermining) at a depth of 40 to 60 cm with simultaneous plowing of organic fertilizer (ameliorative fertilization). As an integral part of reducing acidity and improving soil structure on acidic and heavy soils, calcification is carried out. Compost soil is placed in the pit, with the addition of wood ash, stone flour and diatomaceous earth. The distance between apple orchards where organic production is carried out to the source of pollution from conventional production and from roads must be at least 20 m with a green barrier of 1.5 m high. When erecting new apple orchards for ecological cultivation, the cultivation forms of ordinary and repaired pyramids are recommended . For medium-sized trees, the planting distance is 4×3 m. Planting low trees is not recommended because of the dense structure, but if it is still planted in a dense structure, the planting distances are slightly larger than in conventional cultivation, so that there is a minimum distance of 1 m between the developed crowns.

A selection of apple varieties

Successful ecological cultivation of apples depends to a great extent on the correct choice of variety, because yields, pruning, protection and other agrotechnical works depend on it. When choosing an apple variety, great attention should be paid to the resistance of each variety to pests and plant diseases, the growing form, the climate of the area, and the purpose of cultivation: Topas, Enterprise and Goldrush are characterized by high resistance to leaf and fruit scab (Venturia inaequalis). In order to preserve biological diversity, it is recommended to grow old autochthonous varieties of apples. Tall trees such as Bobovac, Mašanka winter and summer, Kanada and others are suitable for processing. Apple varieties Idared, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji BC 2 and Elstar are suitable for organic production and do not lag behind conventional varieties in terms of yield and percentage of 1st class.

Care should be taken to ensure that the planting material is organically grown, healthy, and declared in accordance with the law on seeds, planting material and the recognition of varieties of agricultural plants. It is important to know that the apple is an extremely exotic species, and pollinators should be ensured when choosing a variety.

Apple orchard care

In the first three years, during the growing season and during the rest phase, it is necessary to carry out pruning for the formation of the crown, and the removal of diseased and redundant branches. In the fourth and other years of cultivation, pinching is carried out to clean and thin the crown, and basic pruning is applied less often. In autumn, shriveled fruits on the ground and branches should be picked up, as they represent a source of infection. Infected fruits should be harmlessly destroyed.

Coating with loam mixture protects the trunk in the place of cracks caused by freezing, acts as a preventive measure against pests and fungal diseases, repels rabbits and other rodents. The loam mixture is obtained by mixing loam or clay flour with horsetail tea with the addition of cow manure and diatomaceous earth.

The belt around the trunk can be covered with mulch, which prevents soil compaction and crusting after heavy rains, keeps the soil loose and moist, prevents the growth of weeds, and the decomposition of the mulch enriches the soil with organic matter. Hay, straw, chopped conifer wood are most often used as mulch, and the layer should be 2-4 cm thick. When the mulch rots, it must leave the smell of the forest floor, and must be renewed. Instead of a layer of mulch in the belt around the trunk and in the space between the fruit trees, it is recommended to sow grasses, green plants for fertilization (siderates), legumes in order to maintain the biological fertility of the soil.

Objava reklama HR 2Objava reklama HR 2

Ecological apple cultivation – Protection

Organic apple cultivation requires more attention and knowledge in protection than other types of production. It is based on the selection of apple varieties that are characterized by better resistance to diseases and pests, and the application of preventive measures that prevent the occurrence of pests and diseases. The use of chemicals in organic apple cultivation is strictly limited.

The use of herbicides in organic apple cultivation is prohibited, and physical and mechanical measures are used to control weeds. Refined paraffinic mineral oil (red oil) is used to control pests and disease agents in fruit growing against aphids (Aphis pomi), red spider mite (Panonychus ulmi), leaf spots and apple and pear fruit scab (Venturia spp.). Treatment can be to be done during the rest of the vegetation (2-3 l in 100 l of water), and it can also be treated in the phenophase of the green bud tip and differentiated leaves (1-1.5 l in 100 l of water).

A solution of sulfur and potassium soap is used to control apple powdery mildew. Copper-based protective agents (Bordeaux soup, Nordox) are used to control apple scab, bacterial blight, taking into account that in organic fruit growing, up to 6 kg/ha of copper is allowed if necessary.

Prima is a natural insecticide based on rapeseed oil that is used to control the red fruit spider and aphids.

There are preparations on the market that affect the resistance of fruit trees, such as MycoSin VIN, Cocana, NeemAzal TS, Biobit WP (Bacillus thuringiensis), Cutisan and others.

Some of the permitted agents in the ecological cultivation of fruit trees are natural enemies of pests, repellents and attractants – alcohol, baking soda, propolis, stone flour, potassium parchment, water glass, clay flour (betonite).

Reklama EN 1Reklama EN 1
Reklama EN 2Reklama EN 2
Reklama EN 3Reklama EN 3