Last year, I tried using nylon socks to protect my apples from pests for the first time. The results were fantastic. So I’m back at it this year, although I’m changing it up a bit. Last time, I used orthodontic rubber bands to hold the nylon socks on the apples. Unfortunately, the bands broke down under the sun and fell off.
So, this year I am using soft wire ties instead of the rubber bands. I wrapped the wire tie around my index finger and snipped it with a pair of wire cutters. This ended up being the perfect size for the ties. I bought the nylon socks in bulk on eBay last year. They were really cheap this way.
Here’s what a bagged apple looks like. A few tips here. I thin the apples at the same time I do the bagging. I’ll pick a few branches, thin them out, and then do all the bagging. If you notice in the picture above, I try to place the apple in the middle of the nylon sock, leaving extra nylon fabric near the stem and at the base of the apple. I do this because the apple will obviously grow a lot and you want to make sure the apple won’t outgrow the nylon near the stem, nor be too tight at the base.
So, this seems like a whole lot of work, right? Not really. It took me about an hour to thin and bag the Chehalis apple tree pictured above. I’d need to do the thinning anyway and spraying would also take time, so while this method probably takes a bit longer than the conventional spray method, I’d rather spend a bit more time to get totally organic apples. Once you get into a rhythm putting the nylons on, it’s actually kind of meditative and not unpleasant at all.
Here’s to a great fruit season! I’m pretty optimistic at this point because my whole orchard pollinated extremely well this year.