We received update photos from the apple trees that were planted in Banda, Rwanda last February. These were the first trees we shipped to Africa and we hadn’t heard a lot on their progress; I’m happy to say that they’re doing very well in this beautiful place.
The trees are showing a typical growth pattern for apples planted in the tropics, tall and skinny; the one next to the ladies is probably 10 feet tall. I recommended that they tie the tip if the tree back around to the trunk to make a “shepherd’s crook” that may stimulate branching.
If these leaves look a bit old and ragged, its because they’ve been on the tree for over 12 months. When the leaves start to look old that’s a sign that they should be stripped off by hand, preferably at the start of a dry season. This will stimulate blossoming and fruiting of the tree. This tree is not waiting for this, as you see new leaves coming out at the tip of the tree.
When stripping off the leaves this is a good opportunity to whitewash the tree trunks to protect the tender bark from the hot African sun.
This tree is showing good adaption to the tropics by blossoming even though the old leaves still remain. It will be fruitful in this climate with little additional work on the orchardist’ part.
Speaking of fruit, these will be the first apples grown in Rwanda. They should be thinned to one per cluster with a hand’s spread between clusters. All in all the trees are doing very, very well and we’re praying that God will bless them.