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How to Care For Your Fruit Trees This Winter

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There’s nothing like owning a fruit tree, but anyone who has in the past would agree that special care must be taken to ensure they grow healthily, particularly in the cooler months. We’re going to take a look at a selection of expert tips for caring for your fruit trees in winter. With a little bit of planning and preparation you can ensure your fruit trees will be growing healthily, even during the cooler months, and that by the time Spring finally comes around again they’ll be good to go.

Necessary Winter pruning

It’s time to get those secateurs out of the shed and start getting rid of the diseased and dead wood, before it becomes a Summer problem. You don’t have to do anything too crazy, simply try to thin out the canopy somewhat and take measure to remove the branches that rub up against each other. By doing this you will ensure your tree is in a good position to start growing and ultimately producing a healthy, delicious selection of fruit once the cold weather clears and spring starts to come again.

Winter pest control measures

This is also an important time of the year to take measures ensuring that your branches don’t fall victim to a range of pests. It’s recommended that you take the following measures in winter:

Apply Eco Oil

During the colder months the larvae of the Codling Moth can develop. These creepy crawlies are bad news for apples and pears and generally spend their Winter hiding out in the trunk of the tree. It’s recommended that during Winter you ensure that you scrape away any flaky bark and spray the tree with Eco Oil, about every two weeks.

Methylated spirits

Another problem during the cooler months that can strike your trees are Woolly Aphids. They look like harmless bunches of cotton wool, but they can actually weaken the tree considerably by sucking the sap. The best way to treat these annoying pests is by painting any stems that have been infested with methylated spirits.

Lime sulphur spray

Fruit tree owners will also know all too well just how much of a problem peach leaf curl and fungal disease can be. Not to mention scale eggs and mites that can also develop in the stems and trunks of plants over winter. The best way to treat these very real fruit tree threats is by applying lime sulphur spray to the trees over the Winter, while they are without leaves. You can also use it to kill black spot fungal spore on roses.

Winter feeding plan

You only get out of gardening what you put in, so it’s important to make sure your trees are well fed if you want to encourage a good harvest. The best way to do this is with a well-rotted manure mix. Add in a few handfuls of blood and bone and dolomite lime and you’ll have the mixture that will ensure your fruit tree gets the best feed of the cooler months and reaps a good harvest in summer.

For the best results, it’s recommended you use a garden fork when applying to make holes in and around the drip line. This will ensure a greater dispersal of the mix. And you should also take care to make sure the manure extends out as far as the leaf canopy of the tree. By making sure you’ve got the right manure mixture in place you can conserve moisture in the soil, reduce weed growth, attract important earthworms, add nutrients to tree root and ultimately reap a better harvest.

Autumn clean up

Another important step you can take to ensure you reap a positive harvest once Spring comes around is embarking upon an Autumn clean-up of your garden space in the intervening period before the Winter takes hold. Cleaning up can help prevent diseases and infestations of your fruit tree and ensure you’re in a good position come Spring time. Before the cold hits, rake up fallen leaves as they may be harbouring insect pests that can wreak havoc on your tree. Also take care to remove any dropped, rotting fruit, as well as any remaining fruit that is still on your tree.

Citrus tree wasp

If you own citrus trees it’s important to be particularly wary of any citrus tree wasp infestations. If you notice any lumpy swelling along the stems then this could be a sign that your citrus tree has become victim. The best thing to do here is remove the galls in Winter as soon as you notice the swellings, but make sure you place them in a plastic bag in the rubbish, not the compost as you may be running the risk of a further infestation.

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