This is the first year that I have had a bumper crop of apples off of my dwarf Jonathan apple tree that I planted in September 2007. The tree is now 5 years old and producing a lot of fruit for a small tree.
So much fruit, that some coddling moths began to eat a few early, until I unleashed the little beasts! Once I initially discovered the moth caterpillars in a few apples, I let the Bantams free range in that part of the yard every day for a few hours. They soon cleaned up the pest problem, and no more coddling moth. I only let the little girls in this area, as the ISA Browns are so destructive and would not only dig up everything in the other beds, but eat the apples as well.
Then another pest presented a problem. Small colourful parrots decided they liked the apples and managed to knock off a few only half eaten apples. I decided to fix their little red wagon with exclusion bags.
I had some laying around, and wrapped each apple or bunches of apples in a cloth bag an tied off the top. The results were fantastic. This bunch below were wrapping in just one bag.
The birds stay away because the apples are disguised and so do the moths because of the bantams, which is win-win for everyone. The little girls even get a few small apples that drop off on their own accord.
These are the best apples I have ever tasted. I have not found a supermarket apple that even comes close, and the only equal tasting apples have been found at organic farmers markets.
So with no sprays, and minimal work, I produced an apple crop that has lasted us a month so far. We started picking them a few weeks ago, and I picked the last ones today. That only leaves the Granny smith and Cox orange pippin in the front yard to harvest in a few weeks time. I getter go and put the exclusion bags on them now that they are starting to ripen!