Fruit Tree Care

There is nothing better than walking into your yard and harvesting fresh, organically grown fruit. With careful planning and prudent pest control measures you can produce the same excellent quality of fruit you find at farmer's markets. Though it is impossible for us to cover every variety of fruit tree and berry bramble, the basics of fruit care the same.

The growing season begins with concentrated pruning once the trees have gone dormant in late fall or winter. First remove all diseased, damaged and crossing branches. Second you will prune for fruit. If you're not sure how to prune, a good arborist can be very helpful and there are many excellent books that can guide you. Any diseased or insect infested parts should be completely removed from your property or burned.

To manage over-wintering pests, follow pruning with a thorough spray of Horticultural Oil. With these chores done, you're ready to take a break for the winter. While you are resting, the fruit trees (excluding citrus trees) are using the cold temperatures to regulate their growth. Without enough chill hours, deciduous fruit trees will not flower or fruit properly

Fruit trees need pollinators and other beneficial insects to produce the best fruit possible. Be sure you have a place that welcomes beneficials - whether you choose Attracting Beneficial Insects With Plants, Lures and Shelter. If you find that you haven't planned ahead for this, simply leave some portion of the area un-tended. If you allow this location to overwinter without pruning back (dead-heading), you can be sure your beneficial's have a special place to reside through the winter.

In early spring, spray all above ground parts of the tree with horticultural oil before bud break and again at bud break (this is when the little leaves and flowers are just swelling open). Horticultural oil kills the eggs of many overwintering pests and also prevents disease. These oils should only be applied once temperatures are above freezing and are not above 88° – 90°F.

Beneficial Nematodes should be applied in the spring to kill the soil-dwelling stages of many pests. Certain pests, however, can migrate in from long distances, so you may want to trap and monitor these pests.

Ensure pollination with bee attractants or by Purchasing Bumblebees. Many cities and towns have a shortage of good pollinators, without pollinators you will have no fruit!

Many fruit trees are prone to bacterial infections which can be easily controlled with a fixed copper spray. Spray Copper when the trees have buds and again at petal drop.

Fertilize during the summer months. A good soil test will show you which nutrients you need for the fruits you're growing, so it's a good idea to test before you spend money on things you don't need! We recommend a well-balanced fertilizer All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer . Apply ~1 lb. of fertilizer for every 1" of trunk diameter.

If you are just switching to organic or are taking over a new backyard, you can safely assume that you need to apply lots of organic matter - add compost, worm castings, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, neem cake to increase the liveliness of your soil. Even if you've been building great soil for years – the addition of all of these materials will contribute to the health and life of your trees.

Summer is a glorious time for fruit trees - have a picnic under your lush orchard canopy and plan for a little summer thinning to ensure good air circulation and even ripening. As your fruit ripens, harvest and enjoy!

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