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April 5, 2018

A Guide to Caring for Fruit Trees

Last week we invited you to our orchard for a pruning seminar – and it was a hit!  We were so happy to share with you our tips and tricks on how to care for fruit trees.  Not only did we demonstrate how to prune an apple tree, but we also explained how to properly spray and fertilize the trees.  Happy and healthy fruit trees = fruit you can enjoy.

In case you missed this seminar, we thought we’d share some of the points we went over!

Pruning

Materials you will need:

  • pruners or any other tool that can be safely used to trim branches
  • ladder
  • safety glasses

The first step to pruning an apple tree is to cut off any sucker growth.  These branches are usually easy to spot, as they are the branches that grow straight up in the air.  Cut all of them off at the base.  New sucker shoots grow each year, so it’s important to prune them as they can take energy away from apple production.

The next step is removing any dead or diseased branches.  Overall tree health is so important to both the longevity of the tree and fruit production.  If you notice any diseased branches on your tree, make sure you discard them after you prune them!

After this is done, it’s time to look at the tree and shape it.  You will first want to look at any branches that are “criss crossed” or in a forked “Y” shape.  Prune these away.  Imagine the tree in the summertime – you want good airflow between all of the branches, and you want sunlight to be able to get into the tree.

Lastly, when shaping the tree, prune it to your desired height and width.  Think of how you will be harvesting your apples, and prune accordingly.  A tree that is too tall may be difficult to pick from.  A tree that is too wide may interfere with other plants in your yard.  Also, keep in mind that a young tree you may have recently planted will require less pruning than an older apple tree in your yard.

Pruning doesn’t have to be a difficult task!  It can actually be quite rewarding to take this step now to ensure a plentiful apple crop later in the season.

Spraying

Dormant Oil Kit

Our Dormant Oil Kit contains Lime Sulphur and Horticultural Oil – both are so important because they kill over-wintering insects, insect eggs and fungal diseases on fruit trees.  This step is one you shouldn’t miss!  Help your fruit tree get off on the right start by setting it up for success first thing in the spring.  You’ll want to apply these products on your fruit trees when the buds are swelling (about to open) up until there is a 1/2” of green leaf.  Depending on the weather, this time is usually throughout the month of April to the first week of May.  Make sure that there is no rain or freezing temperatures in the forecast 24 hrs after application!  When spraying your fruit tree, remember to “sprench” it!  That means when you spray, you are drenching the tree!  Also, spray some of the Lime Sulphur on the ground around the tree – this will help kill any disease spores that are still lingering around from fallen leaves.

End All and Garden Sulphur

End All and Garden Sulphur are the insecticide and fungicide products we recommend to use throughout the spring and summer months, after the Dormant Oil Kit is used.  These are products that should be applied every 5-15 days from after blossom through the month of July (Note: you’ll want to apply the Garden Sulphur a couple of times before blossom!).  Insects and fungal diseases are common issues to deal with when growing your own fruit, so it is important to keep up with a spraying schedule and routine.

Fertilizing

You’ll want to make sure your fruit tree is getting all of the nutrients it needs, so using a tree fertilizer with the correct formula and with micro nutrients is so important.  Our granular slow-release fertilizers will ensure that your fruit tree is being taken care of and growing to its full potential.  These fertilizers couldn’t be any easier to use… they only require one to two applications per year!

Don’t forget – put a tree guard on young fruit trees!  Tree guards are an easy and inexpensive way to prevent damage (rodent, lawn mower, etc.).

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