For all aspiring gardeners out there, fall represents the time of the year where plants need some extra care and protection for the coming cold weather. If you have a good number of fruit trees and orchards in your garden, you know that tasting fresh fruit is quite the thing and you really enjoy it. If you want to ensure this is the case next year, you will do well to look after your trees.
As far as tree care in the fall is concerned, you need to provide adequate measures so that such plants don’t suffer and come best prepared next spring. There are well-known practices developed by expert gardeners that can outline a plan of action and provide a list of chores that you must look into. Here is what you should consider for your gardening efforts in fall:
- Rake fallen leaves under the trees - doing so will ensure that your trees are safe from the various leaf-borne diseases that sometimes trouble the plants. In order to minimize the risk, you should rake fallen leaves regularly. If you leave huge piles for long, you risk not only plant disease, but also pests (such as mice) making their home under the trees. Use the leaves in your gardening, be it for compost or mulch.
- Water until mid-October - trees require a sufficient amount of water for the coming winter. Water in a way to reach deep down the roots, as that will ensure their health and get them into winter without trouble.
- Do not add too much fertilizer - usually grown trees require zero fertilizing of the soil. In fact, adding fertilizer to the soil around young trees will prolong their maturity and lead to delayed fruit bearing. However, should you see that young trees are showing signs of poor growth, you might have to enrich the soil.
- Do not prune early - you want your trees to harden-off for the winter and retain their health. For this reason you should avoid pruning in late summer and fall, for if you do it, the tree might continue growing. Instead, focus your efforts on pruning in spring, as this is the best time for this task, according to many gardening experts.
- Pick fruit without too much delay - keeping the fruit for long period on trees leads to nothing good overall. Not only do you miss on the opportunity to take advantage of the fruit when its taste is the best, but also run the risk of attracting pests like raccoons and various insects. Furthermore, fruit adds significant weight to branches, and it is likely that some of them will bend or worse - break. Do consider the proper fruit picking technique - always attempt to preserve the stems. If the stems are breaking with leaf spurs, this is an indication that you are picking too early.
- Protect trees from pests - do consider threats like rabbits, mice and insects, for they can be really troublesome. If you had to deal with canker worms in spring, you will do well to acquire tanglefoot and prevent moths from laying their eggs. Be on the lookout for caterpillar egg bands. Get tree guards to support your gardening efforts, if you notice animal activity at the lower levels of trees.
- Straighten stakes - if you have staked your trees, you will do well to inspect them and see if they are straight. Often the added weight of fruit leads to leaning, which is a risk that could then lead to falling.
Introduce these garden care methods and you can have your trees healthy and well-prepared into winter. The work is not that demanding, but can surely make a difference.