Spring is a wonderful time of year for fruit trees. They are beginning to bud and will set fruit that will develop later in the year. What you may not realize is how important spring care, such as tree pruning, is for their health. Here are five important things you’ll need to ensure a healthy and bountiful harvest in the summer and fall.
1. Test the Soil for Nutrients
Fruit trees have specific nutritional requirements that must be met for them to produce abundant fruits. Many prefer slightly acidic soil, with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5, but it always is a good idea to double-check the needs of the specific varieties in your home orchard.
Once you know what the ideal is, you can work to bring your soil into line. Testing is a great first step in that process. It let you know what you are starting with so you can apply the appropriate amendments. Lime and wood ashes are popular choices for increasing pH levels, while aluminum sulfate and sulfur are extremely effective at lowering them.
2. Prune Weak Limbs To Support Fruit Production
Proper tree pruning now helps ensure a good harvest later. Most fruit trees produce many more branches than they can fully support. By removing weak or sick branches, you can select where the tree will send resources and energy. Pruning also helps keep emerging diseases at bay by providing an excellent opportunity for an up-close inspection of your fruit trees.
You must remove damaged branches at the correct time of year and in the right location for tree health. If you are unsure about proper tree pruning techniques, it is a good idea to call in professionals to ensure it is done right. Martin’s Tree Service offers professional pruning and tree care services to encourage healthy fruit trees in the spring and throughout the year.
3. Provide Protection From Frost
Fruit trees will start to bud as soon as the weather turns warmer and days begin getting longer. Unfortunately, the arrival of those conditions doesn’t guarantee the end of winter. In some cases, a late first can severely impact your potential harvest.
If trees have budded or set fruit, you will need to pay close attention to weather forecasts until the threat of frost is over. While you may be able to protect one or two trees by shielding them from a surprise frost, keeping your trees in top health throughout the year is your best defence against lasting damage.
4. Plant New Trees for Future Years
Now is a great time to get started on future harvests by planting new trees. If they are purchased as bare root stock, many fruit trees can be transplanted safely in colder weather as long as the ground is workable. It is a good idea to keep an eye on them throughout their first year for signs of disease or distress. Transplants are a prime source of introducing diseases and pests into an existing landscape.
5. Apply Fertilizer as Needed
Many fruit trees need nutritional support to maintain overall health and fruit production. This is typically done with a spring application of fertilizer. Timing is critical when using fertilizer; you should apply it after the threat of frost has passed but before late July, when summer heat can cause problems. Avoid using fertilizer on early spring transplants; when possible, wait until later in the season when they are more established.
Martin’s Tree Services offers comprehensive care, including tree pruning, fertilizing and detection of potential problems so that you can reap a full harvest. Our professional services can help keep your trees healthy and strong or bring new life back to sick or neglected specimens. Contact us today to request a free quote.