Autumn is an exciting time for fruit tree owners. All the hard work is finally visible and we are knee-deep harvesting our tasty rewards. As we know, the effort for thriving fruit trees never stops! So here are some top tips for the best autumn fruit tree care.
Autumn Fruit Tree Care: Maintenance
When to Stop Feeding your Fruit Tree
It is critical to stop feeding your fruit trees at the right time. Late summer (June/July) is the recommended window in which to put a halt to all fertilisation. Any later and you could be encouraging growth at a time when your tree is entering a phase of dormancy.
Trees enter dormancy as a form of protection against harsh, wintery temperatures. Any new growth over this period would not have had time to harden; leaving your plant vulnerable to the frozen conditions, and susceptible to damage or disease.
When to Stop Watering your Fruit Tree
For the best autumn fruit tree care stop watering your plants around the middle of October. Typically rainy weather will be on the way and take over from there! Ending your water regime in October is important for soil health; helping to keep it in a prime condition to handle the elements.
Make sure to give your fruit trees a thorough watering up until that point. Double-check the roots in particular are receiving plenty of nourishment.
If for some reason October brings plenty of warm, sunny weather, continue with your normal routine until things start to cool off.
When to Prune your Fruit Tree
As a general rule, you should avoid pruning all fruit trees in Autumn. Pruning (just like feeding) is a practice that primarily promotes the growth of your plants. Due to the transitional phase your tree is entering, waiting till November to prune is essential.
Of course, there are cases where pruning may be important to the health of your plant, despite the season. If you notice any damaged or diseased areas, head for the shears! Similarly, if your tree is in desperate need of a tidy up do it now. The sooner the better.
Avoid pruning young fruit trees in autumn at all costs. Mature trees have had a few years to harden, so a few emergency cuts shouldn’t do too much damage. Younger trees will not yet be conditioned to the climate, adding to the risk of frost interference.
For those who are new to the world of pruning, be sure to check out our Gardeners Guide to Pruning. This article is filled with plenty of hints and tips to ensure all your plants are receiving the right tree-tment!
Autumn Fruit Tree Care: The tidy up
Pick Overripe Fruits
Be sure to pick all of the offerings that adorn your fruit tree this Autumn. Leaving fruits to over ripen is bad practice and can lead to all sorts of complications.
Forgotten fruit will eventually start to rot, encouraging a whole host of unwanted problems such as fungus, disease, and dreaded critters.
Remove Unattached Leaves
Similarly to above, be sure to remove any fallen leaves from the base of your fruit trees.
Leaves tend to congregate around the trunks of trees and over time will rot. Rotten leaves have the potential to cause serious damage to the bark of your tree and will attract pests.
If the leaves of your fruit tree are infected or carry disease, this could be spread by the wind and contaminate nearby plants.
If something worrying catches your eye whilst clearing debris, be sure to keep all matter as contained as possible. Clear the material into black bags and burn all waste. Next, clean any tools involved in the clear-up. Lastly, wash your clothes and shoes thoroughly to prevent any disease from spreading.
Inspect your Fruit Tree
Spotting any problematic culprits early is vital to fruit tree health. We advise you regularly check the leaves, branches, and fruits of your plant for evidence of pests and eggs.
If you do spot any infestations do not panic. The majority of problems can be remedied using organic solutions. If problems persist, we recommend seeking the advice of a professional arborist.
Plant new Fruit Trees
Autumn is a great time to plant new fruit trees! So why not start preparing next year’s projects?
Ensure your fruit trees are planted in a spot that receives plenty of sunlight and benefits from natural protection against strong winds. It is equally as important to check the pollination compatibility of any new plants before introducing them to your garden.
And there you have it! A foolproof guide to providing the perfect autumn fruit tree care. If you run into trouble or uncover something sinister lurking on your fruit trees, reach out to the LTS team. Our prompt, professional service will fill you with a much-needed sense of re-leaf!