On account of previous issues - such as Bitter Pit (qv) - I have put my two apple trees into big pots, where I am better able to control the soil and its moisture level. This next photo is of my other apple tree, the "Winter Banana".
The few fruit that this tree produced this year were all attacked to a greater or lesser extent by burrowing creatures, possibly the Codling Moth.
With such a small potential harvest, every fruit is precious to me, and I'm determined to do what I can to prevent the insects damaging it. It is for this reason that I have applied grease to my trees! I purchased this little pot of Vitax Fruit Tree Grease at my local garden centre, priced at £6.99. I think it would be enough for about six to eight trees, if they were small ones like mine.
The grease is thick and black, rather like tar, though it doesn't smell of much. The principle of this stuff is that any insect trying to climb up into your tree will be unable to negotiate the sticky barrier and will either get stuck and die, or move off in search of easier "prey". Grease applications of course will not work in relation to flying insects, so they need to be used as part of an in-depth strategy, perhaps in conjunction with pheromone traps.
The product instructions say to apply it with a brush or spatula, but I found that a short length of bamboo cane worked just fine.
It says to apply a band of grease about 4 inches / 10cm in height, around the trunk of the tree, preferably about 18 inches from ground level, but below the level of the lowest branch. What it doesn't say is how thickly to apply it. Since I only have two trees to treat I decided to be generous!
So there we are - a band 4 inches tall and 18 inches above the soil surface...
Next, I shall be reading-up about pheromone traps...