By keeping your trees actively growing, well-fed, consistently watered, mulched through summer and winter, and pruned at the right time, you should have healthy plants.
However, sometimes Mother Nature is against us with things like weather or growing conditions, and so we need to take action.
Different varieties of fruit trees are susceptible to different diseases. There are varieties that are disease resistant, or less susceptible to insect pests than others. Check with your local garden centre or grower for the best trees for your region.
Winter is the time for clean up sprays on all fruit trees. Use a plant spraying oil to capture any overwintering insect eggs which hide in leaf buds and in bark. Mix this with a copper oxychloride spray to get any overwintering fungal spores. Oil and copper based spray applications are protectant sprays so are good to apply as a general clean up and can be done through winter up to bud burst in spring.
Broad-spectrum fungicides can be applied early in the season for the following diseases:
- Brown spot
- Black spot
Often these diseases appear when conditions are cool and wet, or warm and humid.
Leaf curl always appears early in the season and lasts for several weeks. To control leaf curl use a copper based spray that is non toxic to bees as a preventative over winter, before bud burst in spring and then two weeks after bud burst. Collecting up the fallen leaves will also help minimise leaf curl in the following season.
Insecticide sprays will control most common insect pests that affect fruit trees. They need to be applied after petal fall to protect foraging bees and other pollinators. Spray 14 days after petal fall and then again in the middle of summer to capture the second generation.
Use pheromone traps for pests such as codling moth and guava moth that burrow into fruit, when they are placed on the tree is critical for effective control.
- For codling moth place the traps in trees in September/October, the timing is important. Codling moth overwinter and have a dormant period.
- For guava moth, place them in the trees when fruit first set and keep them there until fruiting has finished, they do not have a dormant period so will find other hosts in winter.
Check with your local garden centre for a suitable spray for your fruit trees, there are also natural and non-toxic options available. By having good growing practices you will minimise the amount of spray required.
- Take care not to spray when trees are in blossom, and spraying early in the morning is preferable to later in the day when bees are present.
- Take care not to spray on a windy day to minimise spray drift.
- Collect up fallen leaves, keeping the area weed free, burn any infected plant material or disposing of it in the rubbish and not the compost.
- Replenishing nutrients used by your fruit trees ensures they will grow to their full potential, improving flowering and fruiting so they produce abundant and juicy crops. Use Tui Performance Naturals Citrus & Fruit fertiliser to feed your fruit trees planted in the garden or in pots and containers. Feed during the key growth times of spring, summer and autumn.
- Protect your trees from the elements with layers of mulch. Add a layer of Tui Mulch & Feed about 50mm deep around fruit trees to suppress weeds and help conserve moisture. Be careful not to leave the mulch touching the trunk/stem of the plants as this can cause rot.
- Harvest in 2-4 Years