Mid October is prime time for visiting orchards around the northeast. Apples and pumpkins are the stars of the season after berry picking in the summer. Because orchard owners make a majority of their money in the summer and fall, keeping the fruit-bearing trees healthy in summer and spring is extremely important. Because orchard season is coming to a close, our article today is on 5 ways to keep fruit trees healthy in the winter.
5 Ways to Keep Fruit Trees Healthy in the Winter
- Mulching the tree base will insulate the roots from extreme cold. Wood chips and hay are usually the best choices. When the mulch starts to decompose in the spring, it will make the soil slightly acidic which gives fruit trees their best growth rate.
- Do a complete check of the tree after the orchard crowds begin to diminish. If there any signs of disease or insect damage, be sure to remedy it before cold weather. A tree that is weakened is less likely to survive the winter. If any limbs look damaged or disease, be sure to prune and dispose of them.
- Remove rotten fruit from tree branches. The fruit can weigh branches down and cause breakage. Rotting fruit can also attract the last of the season’s insects and animals such as raccoon and deer. Deer can wreak havoc in an orchard so don’t give them any temptation.
- If you have young fruit trees, you’ll want to wrap them or install tree guards on the trunks. Young trees are vulnerable to a condition called sun-scald. This condition occurs when the sun comes out in late winter and the roots of the tree are still frozen. The sun can actually burn the trees, hence the name sun-scald.
- Clean up the area beneath the trees. Insects and bacteria can hide in rotten leaves and fruit. There is even a tree disease called Apple Spore which is spread by spores released by decaying apples.
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