How to Care for your Fruit Tree

Watering: The most obvious guideline is to not let your tree get so dry that it starts to wilt. In general, a deep watering once a week will be more beneficial than a sprinkle every few days. Mature trees need about an inch of rain a week, so watering is important in drier seasons. Watering is particularly crucial during the period of fruit expansion, usually in the 3-4 weeks prior to anticipated harvest.

Mulching: is a popular technique to conserve water and control weeds. Several different kinds of mulch are suitable, including straw, bark chips, hay and gravel. Leaves and grass clippings will also work, although they will tend to mat down heavily around the base of the tree and prevent water from reaching the soil. Be sure also to rake the mulch away from the trunk and exposed roots, as mulch provides habitat for mice who can damage the base of the tree.

Thinning: Trees thin themselves naturally by the process of dropping fruit over the course of fruit development. Hand thinning will often be of further benefit to fruit development:

  • to promote an increase in size of the remaining fruit
  • to remove insect and water damaged fruit,
  • to improve fruit colour
  • to decrease the adverse effect on the tree of large crops and encourage evenly sized yearly crops, or to decrease fruit growth and increase tree growth.

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