4 ways to pamper your fruit trees

Fruit trees will repay some seasonal love and attention, so give them the full treatment, with a good haircut, protection from the cold and a general spruce-up. Pamper them now and they’ll be healthier, stronger and more resistant to pests and diseases. Our four-step guide will reinvigorate your orchard.

A good time to give your deciduous fruit tree a snip is when its branches are bare, as you can see what you’re doing. Pruning in winter promotes growth the following spring, so lop all dead, weak or injured branches, and any that cross inwardly.

Weeds compete with fruit trees for moisture and nutrients, and some attract unwanted pests, so your trees will thank you for a good weeding session. Plant tansy and pyrethrum daisies underneath the tree to help stop the weeds from regenerating.

Give your tree a lovely warm coat of mulch to hold in the moisture, improve the soil and suppress the weeds. If you’re in a frosty area though, it’s best to leave the ground bare under your evergreen fruit trees. Bare ground will release stored heat overnight, reducing frost damage.

Controlling pests & diseases
It’s a great time to deal with pests, as many are in their vulnerable egg and nymph stages during winter, while fungi are less active. Spray deciduous fruit trees while bare with lime sulfur, and you can greatly reduce the number of stink bugs on citrus if you apply horticultural oil spray in winter.

Find more tips on pampering your fruit trees in the July issue. Tino Carnevale outlines the key steps that will help your trees thrive next season.