With the pruning season and winter dormancy of most fruit trees approaching, now is the time to get prepared to prune.
Pruning is a topic that can get complicated, so – as ever – I want to break it down for you and tell you what you need to know to get started.
Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you the difference between the trees that produce on first and second year wood; ways to prune; health and safety when pruning; spraying; companion planting; male and female pollinators; planting of new trees and pest and disease. Phew – that’s a lot to cover!
For many people, pruning your fruit trees can seem such a daunting task that you worry so much about it and then end up not doing, for fear of doing it wrong! Then you might think about it all year through the seasons, until a year has passed and you are still in the same place you were the year before! If this is you, my Grow Inspired challenge to you is to prune at least one tree yourself this year… I promise you it will give you a feeling of achievement!
I used to be equally daunted in the past, until I simply took the plunge and started. In my first year, I only pruned the fruit that grew on first year wood. The reason for this was that I would only have to wait a year for my trees to recover and provide me with fruit again! I enjoyed my successes and learnt from my mistakes. I have found over my years of pruning that mistakes can always be learnt from and trees are very forgiving, eventually righting themselves.
How do I know what to do?
Observing your fruit trees over all the seasons is the key to understanding what they are telling you they require. For example, was your citrus full of white fly this season? Did you get scale? Was your fruit diseased? Did you have as many fruit as flowers? Have you left snapped branches on your tree? Were your leaves full of holes? Did you pick up your fruit? Did you feed your trees? Did you put pruning paste on the wounds?
What is the best pruning schedule
From experience, I know that it pays to prune your trees for its health and production of fruit. My personal pruning schedule is to prune my trees in years 1-3; then prune year 5, 7, 9 and so on. I have found this to be beneficial, as years 1-3 are all about establishing good roots for the tree, in order to produce a strong structure to hold the fruit it will bear. Then letting it grow every other year will give you the chance to replace any damaged branches or non-fruiting branches.
The importance of health with your fruit trees is unsurpassable – healthy trees produce healthy fruit.
At Grow Inspired, we have teamed up with Grosafe to bring Bio-gro certified products to you. In the past, I haven’t been able to find an organic copper or a good organic oil or pruning paste, so I have been unable to previously use and test these products until last year. I am pleased to report that all my trials with these products has been extremely successful. With so much pest and disease around, I feel that this time of year is a good time to spray with copper and Enspray 99; the oil helps the copper stick to the tree and will also help kill off the last of that stubborn white fly, or smother a disease that is lying dormant.
Below are my go-to products for the upcoming season. As a special bonus for my followers, if you sign up my newsletter before 30th May 2018, you will receive 15% off a special pruning pack with my essential organic products.
Copper – What is its purpose in pruning?
Copper will smother fungal spores and bacteria that cause diseases like leaf curl, leaf spot, diseases in the bark, botrytis and citrus diseases. It is also great for roses to control black spot, bacterial spot and blight. When you smother the disease, it will mean there is less chance of reinfection when the tree comes into blossom and leaf next season. When applying this, it is best to saturate the tree, including the trunk and branches. I spray the ground too if I have come across a particularly diseased tree. Repeating this in spring can also help.
What is Enspray 99 oil?
Enspray is a mineral oil that is great to control insect infestations, thrips, aphids, mites and caterpillars. It has many uses and comes highly recommended by Bill Brett who is an authority on pest and disease. I use this oil year-round and it can be combined with copper, kelp and EM (effective microorganisms) when spraying for health and growth, especially if there is pest activity.
Who needs Organic Prune and Paste?
The trials I have done with this product have been hugely successful. It helps seal and protect all cuts, wounds and pruning areas of fruit trees and ornamentals, and it comes in an easy to use bottle with a brush applicator. It is a pine-based product that helps create a natural barrier against fungal and bacterial disease.
Using these potent organic products together in pruning season can create a three-pronged defence system for your trees and plants over winter, enabling them to thrive next season. My passion for organics is so profound and I simply cannot express my happiness when I can find a product I believe in and recommend, which successfully meets the practical needs of the garden whilst harmoniously working with nature.
Once again, I’m delighted to offer this fantastic trio of Bio-gro certified products exclusively to my newsletter followers with a 15% discount if purchased before 30th May.
Want in, but you’re not a follower? Sign up to the newsletter before 30th May and you’ll receive the discount too.
Next week, we’ll continue our focus on pruning and cover the difference between fruit trees that produce on first year wood and ones that produce on second year wood.
Grow Inspired Everyone!