If you are a passionate gardener, chances are you have planted one or more fruit trees in your garden. Harvesting and tasting the fruit produce of your own trees is quite satisfying and enjoyable. In order to do that, however, you must ensure that your trees receive adequate care during the fall and coming winter.
There is a lot that you should take into account when it comes to tree care in the fall. Regardless if you are an expert gardener or just an aspiring enthusiast, the following practices will help your trees thrive and reward your efforts with fresh produce. Follow these tips for effective care:
- Take care of fallen leaves from under the trees - there is always the threat of leaf-borne disease, which is why you should never forget to rake the leaves from under your trees. That way they will not be at risk. Mice often make their home under trees when there is a carpet of fallen leaves under them, which is another reason why you should not overlook this. You can use the leaves for creating compost.
- Water your trees into mid-October - trees need to be watered properly, since going into winter with sufficient supply of water is very important for them. Expert gardeners suggest that watering deeply into the roots is essential for the health of the tree and serves as preparation for the cold weather of winter.
- Don’t be too generous on fertiliser - normally, your trees won’t even require fertiliser. Healthy soil is all it takes for stable growth. It is especially important to not fertilise young trees, as it will only prolong their maturity and fruit bearing. Fertilising is a good idea only when your trees are showing signs of poor growth.
- Don’t prune your trees too early - usually spring is the ideal time for major pruning, as that is when the tree should grow the most. If you prune in late summer and fall, the tree may continue growing which isn’t advisable. Instead of growing, you want your trees to harden-off in order to stay healthy for the winter so that no injuries occur in that season.
- Be careful with fruits - every gardener should know when the best time to pick fruit is. The technique you use for picking fruit is also very important. For example, if you are dealing with apples, you should try to preserve the stems. You will know you are picking too early, if the stems are breaking off with the leaf spurs. Once you have picked the fruits of your trees, pay attention to proper storing - perfect fruits can be stored, while flawed pieces should be set aside for cooking right away.
- Don’t delay picking the fruit - if you keep the fruit on your trees for too long, chances are that it will attract various pests, like raccoons and wasps. Do keep in mind that fruit adds weight and may lead to broken branches.
- Protect your trees from insects, mice and rabbits - these are only some of the most common pests, which you may encounter in your gardening efforts. If you had to deal with canker worms in spring, it is a good idea to get tanglefoot, which will prevent moths from laying eggs at the top of the tree. Watch out for caterpillar egg bands on the twigs. Rabbits and mice often aim at the lower bark of trees. If you notice such animal activity, acquire some tree guards and your trees will be safe.
- Check stakes for vertical orientation and firmness - if your trees are staked, now would be a good idea to check if they are vertical and well set. Stakes may often loosen under the added weight of fruit. Don’t allow trees to lean as that often leads to falling.
Fruit trees often yield the best return on effort, which is why you should always invest time in looking after them. That way you will be able to provide the best care for your garden and enjoy fresh fruits from your trees. Such gardening work is not demanding but has huge benefits.