How to Prepare Fruit Trees for Winter? How to Protect Them?
How to prepare fruit trees for winter? How to protect them from the cold? What should we do before the frost? We shall tell you everything!
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How to Prepare Fruit Trees for Winter?
Did you know that well protected from harsh climatic conditions, it is under the branches of fruit trees that many parasites spend the winter, just like disease germs? If you want your fruit trees to remain productive with good quality harvests, it is absolutely necessary to apply a winter treatment before spring activity resumes and the trees begin to vegetate. It is from the end of October until February that the treatments prove to be most effective thanks to their low impact on the environment, for example. These treatments should allow you to destroy the overwintering forms of certain insects generally attached to the branches or in the crevices of the bark, such as:
- red mite eggs
- apple and pear aphids
- green apple aphid
- Adult pear psyllids
- San Jose scale
In addition to limiting the spread of moss and lichen, which tend to maintain a humidity level favorable to parasites, these treatments should fight against the conservation forms of the following main cryptogamic diseases:
- Apple scab
- powdery mildew
- tree canker
- Blister mites
How to Protect Fruit Trees from Diseases?
Arborists generally use copper-based fungicides in both regular and organic crops. For this purpose, a mixture of copper sulfate and lime has long proven itself: Bordeaux mixture. The latter has no equal in the fight against downy mildew or moniliosis which affects the following fruit trees:
- plum trees
- quince trees
- pear trees
Bordeaux mixture is also effective against blight on peach trees or powdery mildew on apple trees. Usually two sprays are recommended. The first, just after leaf fall, helps wounds to heal and begins to fight scab as well as moniliosis, mainly on apples. The second treatment is to be applied in February, just before the leaves burst. Be careful, do not play the sorcerer’s apprentice, it is essential to keep to the dilution rate indicated on the instructions for use.
Protect Your Trees from Insects
Be aware that if certain pests have been poorly controlled or if climatic conditions have favored their development, there is a good chance that their populations will begin to grow dangerously in winter. Thus, the trees will be in bad shape when spring warms up and the sunny days that accompany this period arrive. For best results, you need to apply the right treatments after pruning. To achieve this, spraying must be abundant and reach all parts of the tree. Because its enemies are often located in well-sheltered areas of the tree, it is essential to take the following measures:
- use adequate treatment equipment allowing vigorous spraying
- wet the trees well until all the branches have been sprayed
Mineral oils or white oils, such as paraffin oil, are biodegradable and are used against:
- red spiders
All these oils suffocate eggs and larvae by wrapping them in an asphyxiating layer. To put the odds on your side, start by spraying the product liberally, starting at the top of the tree to reach the dormant buds. Then, the liquid will slowly begin to trickle over the entire surface of the main branches and the trunk. Finally, it will seep into the crevices and crevices of the bark. We recommend pouring soluble forms directly into the water in the spray tank. For powders, first prepare the mixture in a bucket and pour the recommended dose into the tank. Be careful not to increase the doses indicated on product labels. In addition, avoid treatments in rainy, windy weather and during periods of frost. A successful treatment will considerably reduce spring populations of most fruit tree pests.
Safety tip: wear protective clothing, gloves and a mask to avoid breathing the products. Finally, don’t forget to clean the tank and spray tools with clean water. Under no circumstances should you dispose of the rinse water in the orchard!
How to Prepare Fruit Trees For Winter? As a Bonus, How to Avoid Frost on Fruit Trees?
While winter fleece can be very effective as a thermal protection that lets water and air through, mulching with dead leaves around the tree stump seems to us the best solution against frost. Indeed, frost tends to be tougher closer to the ground. In addition, he soil stores the cold and spreads it to the tree even after defrosting. To prevent straw or dead leaves from flying away, you can place a traditional winter fleece or burlap held in place with stones. To do more good than harm to the the tree, we recommend removing this protection during the day and putting it back on in the evening.