Wondering what to do for your fruit trees this summer?
Preventative maintenance is the best approach. With good watering, feeding and cultural practices fruit trees will provide an abundance of fruit, and reduce the need to spray. We've put together a maintenance guide for the season so you can enjoy the rewards of healthy fruit trees!
Be vigilant, walk the garden regularly and observe! If you see a problem or a potential problem, take action to prevent it spreading.
Protect your trees from a hot, dry summer. Mulching protects the roots of your fruit trees from heat and drought as well as replenishing the soil with organic matter, encouraging earthworm activity, and improving soil structure.
- Mulch around trees to keep weeds and grasses at bay. The weeds and grasses can harbour insect pests and diseases, as well as compete for moisture and nutrients.
- Keep trees consistently watered. Once a week for established trees and 2-3 times a week for newly planted trees.
- Copper and oil can be applied throughout summer at a diluted rate, this prevents soft new growth from burning.
Avoid spraying when bees and other pollinators are foraging. Spraying early in the morning or late afternoon is best.
Brown rot becomes a problem in early summer with stone fruit, especially plums, peaches and nectarines. Once you have fruit on the tree there's not really any safe spray that can be applied, but a few cultural practices help:
- Summer pruning opens up the canopy to a vase shape which improves air circulation and helps ripen fruit.
- Collect any rotten fruit and fallen leaves and make sure you dispose of them in the rubbish or by burning - don’t compost infected tree prunings and leaves.
- Continue using copper spray through winter to minimise the effect of brown rot.
Keep an eye out for insect pests such as aphids, scale insect, passionvine hopper, white fly, mites and mealy bug.
- Control with spraying oil at regular intervals or a safer low toxicity insecticide. Repeat applications are needed to break the insect life cycle.
- Control passionvine hopper and white fly by hosing them off at regular intervals, especially on citrus.
Sometimes the weather can be against us, but there is always next season, so don’t give up!