Gathering your own fruit is one of life’s little pleasures, there is nothing better than eating fruit fresh from the tree. Home grown isn’t always perfectly flawless in appearance like a bought one, but they will taste so much sweeter as they haven’t been stored in a cool store.
Choose a site that has good drainage it is important, water sitting around the root zone is often the primary reason that trees will struggle to flourish. A warm and sunny site is best, provide shelter from strong winds. Add some compost to the soil and some long term fertiliser to give it a head start.
Winter clean up spray
Winter is the best time to give all fruits a cleanup spray; the leaves have fallen so this gives you good access to the whole tree. The following spray combination can be used on grapes, berries, pip and stone fruit. Make sure you spray in all the nooks and crevices as bugs like to burrow in there for the winter.
Season Spray Pest and Disease When the trees are bare Copper Oxychloride + Conqueror Oil Fungus disease, Insect and eggs
Some Simple Methods of Pest Control
Remove all fallen fruit, harmful insects like codlin and Guava moth will complete their lifecycle in the soil ready to infect the following year. Or let the chickens loose they will make short work of them.
Remove infected or damaged fruit from the tree as insects are attracted to them.
Codlin moth will go off to find a place to burrow in to pupate – use grease bands to control the larva before it hatches to an adult moth. These bands are a barrier that any crawling insect becomes trapped in. There are ready made ones on the market or you can make you own. Use on old stocking, corrugated cardboard or hessian and smear with Vaseline, tie around the trunk of your apple and pear trees. It is important to inspect, destroy any cocoon inside then replace with a new trap.
Pheromone traps are another product available – these traps work by attracting the male moth in to the sticky trap therefore interrupting the breeding cycle.
Keep weeds down they can also harbor insects.
Always prune away broken branches, a cut or tear in the bark is the perfect place for insect to make their home.
Prune away infected wood to stop the spread of the disease.
Seal all cuts with Pruning paste.
Pruning is the one essential activity that you need to carry out if you have fruit trees. Other than remedial work the bulk of the pruning is carried out during the trees dormant time during winter before the new season growth starts
We prune for a few reasons
On young trees it is to establish a good frame work for future fruit production
On mature tress to encourage fruiting.
To remove disease ,unproductive or broken branches
The most common shape to prune to for the home gardener is the open center or vase shape. This is when you have four to five leaders called scaffolds growing from the open center, leaving the center open. This let in the sun in to help ripen the fruit.
Check for any branches that are crossing over and rubbing against each other, it will cause damage to the bark and leave it open to bugs and disease. Remove the weakest branch.
A tree pruned in this way remains a reasonable height so that general maintenance can be carried out on the tree fairly easily. Watch for branches that become overlong the weight of the fruit will sometimes break them, remove the fruit and prune back by 1/3
Pollination is essential so help the bees along and plant flowers for them to visit. Lucie the bring back the bees link should go in here
Most plums and pears need a different tree to pollinate and increase your harvest ; see the charts below.
Stake when young; remove the stake when they are established as the ties can cut in to the bark.
Espaliers-this is a method of training the trees on wires against fence brickwork or on a simple wire and post framework. It keeps the branches growing in a horizontal position, perfect for small garden. This method is particularly well suited to apples and pears
It is important to remember that not all fruit will thrive in our tropical climate, so be realistic about your expectations especially for stone fruit.
Bees need to pollinate the blossoms, if it is too wet and windy during this time it can hinder pollination and reduce the crop.
Sometimes fruit will have a heavy crop one year and a smaller one the year after, this is a common occurrence.