Care for Jonagold Apple Trees

Overview

Jonagold is a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. It produces yellow fruit with red streaks or blush and can be used for cooking or eating fresh. Jonagold, like most apple trees, needs another apple variety to pollinate it. Otherwise, the tree won't set edible fruit. Unfortunately, Jonagold won't return the favor, as its pollen is sterile. Thus, you'll need at least two other apple trees varieties that bloom around the same time to get fruit from all three varieties. Gala and Empire apples are compatible with Jonagold. Jonagold care is the same as for other apple trees.

Step 1

Contact your extension office to discover diseases and pests attacking apple trees locally. Jonagold is especially vulnerable to fireblight.

Step 2

Remove nearby red cedar trees, if possible, to prevent cedar apple rust.

Step 3

Learn about central leader training (see Resources), which results in a pyramid shaped apple tree. Lateral branches are removed or trained so top branches don't shade lower branches.

Step 4

Prune in very late winter. Remove dead or damaged limbs. A neglected tree should be pruned gradually over three years.

Step 5

Test soil through your extension office every one to three years for nutrients and pH, which should be 6.5 to 7.

Step 6

Fertilize in spring, using the results of the soil test as a guide. (Absent a test, use 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree in the first year, adding a pound per year until you reach about 5 pounds.)

Step 7

Broadcast lime, if necessary, to raise pH. Water it in.

Step 8

Water about an inch every two weeks including rain. You can measure water by putting out a marked container.

Step 9

Spray the fungicide/insecticide according to product directions about every 2 to 3 weeks.

Step 10

Rake leaf and apple debris from beneath trees.

Step 11

Weed about a yard out from the trunk.

Step 12

Repel deer with soap bars hung from branches or by fencing, rabbits by wrapping the bottom 12 inches of trunk with hardware cloth, rodents by traps and birds with noisemakers or netting.

Step 13

Thin fruit when they're about marble-sized. Space fruits about 6 inches apart.

Step 14

Thin trees judiciously no later than July's end, removing current vigorous growth interfering with the tree's pruning plan. Cut shoots flush to the nearest branch.

Step 15

Harvest fruit as they mature or ripen. The color of the side not facing the sun is called the ground color. It should be yellow in mature Jonagolds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Destroy diseased apple debris. Keep pesticides and fungicides locked away. Exactly follow all cautions on the packaging.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer, type determined by soil test, or 10-10-10
  • Lime (optional)
  • Combination fungicidal and insecticidal spray geared toward apple trees
  • Rake
  • Weeding spade
  • Soap bars, hardware cloth, traps, noisemakers, netting (optional)

References

  • NCSU Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Apple Trees In The Home Garden
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Growing Apples in Virginia
  • Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Five Important Apple Varieties Named by Cornell

Who Can Help

  • NCSU Cooperative Extension: Training & Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: Jonagold apple tree care, care of jonagold apple trees, caring for jonagold apple trees

About this Author

S. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media who specializes in making the complex clear. A freelancer for over 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover many topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews, learning a lot and talking to many interesting people.