Stand up and take action against another year of stunted, scabby, worm-riddled fruit! This is the month, while trees are still dormant, to tackle winter fruit tree care without harming your trees – or next summer’s harvest.
Winter pruning invigorates a tree for the coming year and improves its overall health. Younger trees require heavier pruning to establish lifelong shape and set the tree up for proper fruit production.
Before pruning, be sure to research your specific tree variety to understand where the tree sets fruit and which branches might need to be removed (old wood versus newer wood). When making cuts, be careful and calculated. Use sharp tools and do not cut too close to the terminal bud of a branch (where branches meet). When in doubt, focus on removing dead, diseased or damaged wood first.
Helpful hint: Before you prune, spread a tarp below you to catch the cut branches as you go. Then you can just drag them off when you’re finished!
When planting and pruning, be aware of air circulation both around and within the tree. Each tree needs good air flow to minimize disease problems and fungal growth.
Make sure your soil drains well but isn’t too sandy, and remove dead leaves, dropped fruit and other debris from around its perimeter. Ensure that there is enough organic matter in the soil and/or mulch to keep the tree strong and healthy.
Food & Water
Don’t overwater or overfertilize your fruit trees. They will grow larger than you want and bear less fruit. Ideally, in winter, fruit trees do not need to be watered at all. However, in drought conditions, we recommend watering 5 gallons per tree per month.
If winter fruit tree care doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t give up! Evergreen Nursery’s expert landscape and design crew is ready to perform these and other key tasks to make your yard and garden a pleasant, fruitful place – and will take care of the clean-up too.