The monthly Orchard Keepers series is designed to help tree owners and enthusiasts protect and maintain their trees! Look for quick, easy tips on the blog and in the City Fruit newsletter each month.
Support heavy branches: This year most fruit set unusually large crops. Use 1” lumber with notch cut in top to reinforce branches that are straining under tje weight of fruit.
Mulch for water retention: Spread 2-4” depth of mulch at the base of the tree at least three feet or to the extension of the branches (dripline) if possible. Keep mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk for air circulation.
Pick up fallen fruit: Pick up fallen fruit to prevent unwanted garden visitors. Fruit with visible pest damage should be placed in the city compost to avoid reinfestation.
Monitor pest damage: Continue monitoring for visible damage from codling moth and apple maggot fly as mentioned in last month’s newsletter. Remove fruit and compost in city yard waste. Do not add to home compost bin. Continue to pick up fallen fruit as soon as possible. Fruit with codling moth damage can still be used, just cut out the holes and tracks left by the codling moth larvae.
Pear rust: Check pear trees for bright orange spots on the leaves. Pear rust or trellis rust are fungal diseases spread by infected cedar or juniper trees. Remove leaves as soon as you notice they are infected. However, if all of the leaves are affected, remove just the ones with the largest damage and plan on monitoring the tree more closely next year.
Water: Trees need water too! Young fruit trees should receive 15 gallons per week. Mature and established fruit trees should receive water if soil is dry at 4-6” soil depth. Trees with fruit set especially benefit from regular watering; that juiciness has to come from somewhere!
Prune and thin: Prune fruitless vertical branches “water sprouts.” Thin and remove overcrowded and damaged branches from heavy fruit set. Summer pruning is for shape and height. Check out City Fruit’s quick resource guide here.
Harvest: Plums and yellow Asian Pear varieties are ready to harvest late summer. Share the harvest!
This month’s Orchard Keepers was compiled by Barb Burrill, City Fruit’s orchard advisor.