Fall Season Care for Fruit Trees

Fall Season Care for Fruit Trees

Fall is the optimal season to look after the health of your fruit trees. Here at Tips Tree Planting, we understand the importance of maintaining your orchard and ensuring a bountiful harvest. In this article, we will provide you with essential tips and advice on how to care for your fruit trees during the fall season.

Water well once the leaves have fallen

It is crucial to ensure that your trees enter the cold winter with an adequate moisture supply. However, it’s equally important not to encourage new growth just before dormancy and stormy weather. Therefore, it’s best to wait until the leaves have fallen before watering. Make sure to saturate the soil thoroughly, at least 2 feet deep, to promote proper root growth. Additionally, continue watering between rain showers until daytime air temperatures dip below 45 degrees. This practice is essential for the overall health and vigor of your fruit trees.

Rake fallen leaves

Gather up and remove fallen leaves from underneath your healthy fruit trees. This simple task helps prevent leaf-borne diseases from recurring and reduces the habitat for mice. By keeping the area clean and free from debris, you can significantly improve the overall health of your orchard.

Refrain from fertilizing

During the fall season, it’s crucial to refrain from fertilizing your fruit trees. Fertilizing at this time can stimulate growth, preventing the trees from developing the necessary hardiness to survive the winter. Only fertilize your fruit trees if they exhibit pale leaves and weak new growth. In such cases, applying a cup or less of a balanced fertilizer can provide the necessary nutrients. However, it’s important to note that young trees should not be fertilized, as this can delay their maturation and fruit-bearing.

Wait until spring for major pruning

While pruning in late summer or autumn may encourage growth, it’s essential to allow your trees to harden off for the winter. Pruning too late can result in trees that are not fully winter hardy, making them susceptible to damage during harsh weather conditions. It’s recommended to remove dead or diseased branches during the fall season, but reserve major pruning for March when the trees are fully dormant.

Control insects

Fall is the perfect time to prevent an infestation of canker worms or tent caterpillars. Apply tanglefoot to the tree trunk to prevent moths from reaching the treetop and laying eggs, thereby deterring the caterpillars. Additionally, inspect the twigs for caterpillar egg bands and remove them as necessary. By taking these preventive measures, you can protect your fruit trees from potential damage caused by these pests.

Don’t let fruit overripen on the tree

Overripe fruit can lead to rot and attract pests such as wasps and raccoons. The weight of overripe fruit can also strain the tree’s structure, potentially resulting in broken branches. To avoid these issues, make sure to harvest ripe fruit promptly and avoid letting it overripen on the tree. This practice will help maintain the overall health and longevity of your fruit trees.

Take care to protect the branch spurs

When harvesting fruit, it’s essential to protect the branch spurs, as they will produce next year’s fruit. Climbing through the tree can easily damage these short twigs, compromising future harvests. Instead, use a pole picker or an orchard ladder to pick fruit, ensuring the preservation of the branch spurs. By taking this extra precaution, you can maximize the productivity of your fruit trees.

Protect trees from sunscald

Late winter sun can burn young trees with smooth bark, especially when their roots are still frozen. To safeguard your trees from sunscald, consider painting or wrapping the lower trunk or installing tree guards. These protective measures will shield your trees from the potentially harmful effects of sunburn, ensuring their overall health and vitality.

Check for leaners

If any of your trees are staked, fall is an excellent time to ensure they are still vertical and firmly planted. The weight of the fruit load and the picking process can sometimes cause trees to lean. These leaning trees are vulnerable to falling during storms, posing a risk to your property and the tree itself. Take the time to correct this by ensuring the stakes are securely anchored in the ground and tightening the lines to keep your tree as vertical as possible.

At Tips Tree Planting, we understand the joy and satisfaction that come from having productive fruit trees on your property. The effort required to care for these trees is undoubtedly worthwhile, as each harvest brings a bountiful reward. If you need assistance with your fruiting and ornamental trees, please contact us about our pruning, tree removal, and stump grinding services. We are here to help you maintain the health and beauty of your orchard.

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