realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Monthly Archives: October 2013

October tips: honey fungus

In this mild autumn the toadstools of the Honey fungus are all around to see. If your fruit tree has been affected by this fungus, consider removing the tree as there is no cure known to man.

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Photo courtesy of Charles de Mille-Isles/flickr.com

October tips: it’s now too late to prune some trees

It is now too late to prune apricot, peach, nectarine, plum and cherry. Bacterial canker and the silver leaf fungus are looking for open wounds on any live woody tissue in order to start a new infection.

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Photo courtesy of amadej2008/flickr.com

Good blossom, no fruit, what’s the problem?

If your fruit trees blossomed well but failed to set fruit, you may need to plant another tree of the same family to improve the pollination. Take a look at our Tree Varieties page.

Apple trees for beautiful blossom

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If you are not really interested in fruit, but really like beautiful apple blossom and autumn colours of the foliage. plant some crab apples, such as Malus Everest, Malus Royalty, Malus Robusta and Malus Van Heseltine. Take a look at our Tree Varieties page, where you can use the web form to ask for information or place a provisional order.
Photo courtesy of Codognanais/flickr.com

If you can’t find manure…

Super-Dug Extra, a good substitute for "well-rotted farmyard straw-based manure"

Super-Dug Extra, a good substitute for “well-rotted farmyard straw-based manure”

If you like your fruit trees to carry regular crops of fruit, do not let them go short of food.
On the market there is a superb product called SUPER DUG. It is totally dried organic natural manure. It comes in a 25 kilo bag. It is a wonderful tonic for all type of trees, shrubs and vegetables. When you plant fruit trees, follow the instructions on the bag, put a couple of spade-fulls in the wheel barrow and mix it well with the soil that you are going to put back into the planting hole. More details at www.compost-technology.co.uk

Brown Rot

Brown rot, courtesy of Barockschloss/flickr.com

Brown rot, courtesy of Barockschloss/flickr.com

If there is one fungus which is a real trouble when fruit is ripening, as well as during blossom time, it is this brown rot fungus. It is caused by three different fungi: Monilinia fructigena, Monilinia laxa and Sclerotinia fructigena. It also infects blossoms of fruit trees, which become brown in appearance; the problem may persist in the trees well into early summer. It is when the fruits are beginning to ripen, whether they be apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, nectarine or apricot, that the the brown rot fungus becomes really active. The conidia spores enter the fruit through small wounds or bird pecks, and germinate. The destructive spores soon develop and the fungus spreads around growing fruit. If the weather is favourable it is able to destroy a very significant proportion of the fruit crop. Warm and humid days suit the fungus best. It may even affect the thin young shoots, which have been supporting the growing fruits.

Top ten fruit tree tips for October

Now the leaves are beginning to drop, this is a good time to carry out a detailed inspection of each fruit tree.
1. Ttree ties. Check that they are not too tight. Adjust or renew.
2. Take the tree guards off the trunk. Look for canker. Clean the trunk of any accumulated debris, such as moss and weed remains, grass cuttings etc. If there is canker, cut it out with a sharp knife. Seal the wound with “Heal and Seal”. Put the tree guard back on.
3. Check the stake. If broken or rotted off at ground level, replace the stake before the winter gales cause damage to the root system of the tree.
4. Remove all dropped or rotten fruit under the tree. This to avoid a build-up of the brown rot fungus. If scab or mildew did occur during the season, remove all leaves from the ground to avoid a build-up of the spores of the damaging fungi. Apply an approved winter wash to the tree, if pest or disease have been a serious problem.
5. This is the right time to cut out any broken branches. Seal the wounds with “Heal and Seal”.
6. If the top of the trees has extended beyond your reach, causing you problems during picking time, cut the top out now and seal the wound. It is best to do it now and not during the winter time.
7. If lots of new shoots and branches have darkened the centre of the tree, cut these shoots and branches out. You can do this now, while the tree is semi-dormant.
8. If the tree carried a very heavy crop, rebuild the tree’s nutritional reserve by applying half a wheelbarrow of well rotted straw-based farmyard manure, spread out underneath the tree’s canopy.
9. Mulch the tree, if you can, with old and decomposing straw or hay, at a thickness of around 3 inches. Leave a clear ring around the trunk without any mulch to avoid mice damage during the winter time.
10. Order the new trees for your orchard now!

October fruit tree tips – mulching trees

If the tree carried a very heavy crop, rebuild the tree’s nutritional reserve by applying half a wheelbarrow of well rotted straw-based farmyard manure, spread out underneath the tree’s canopy.

Mulch the tree, if you can, with old and decomposing straw or hay, at a thickness of around 3 inches. Leave a clear ring around the trunk without any mulch to avoid mice damage during the winter time.

Apple canker

Canker on Golden Delicious, courtesy of Alan Biggs/flickr.com

Canker on Golden Delicious, courtesy of Alan Biggs/flickr.com

This a serious disease which needs to be identified, and, if present, it has to be eliminated from young trees. The roots of the trees are not affected. Canker is a fungal infection, and and it used to be treated with copper-based sprays. These have been withdrawn from the market, under EU regulations. Therefore the only means to eradicate this fungus is to cut out all diseased wood. It must be removed from the orchard and burned. Spores continue to be released from wood on the orchard floor, particularly during the dormant period of the fruit trees. That’s why as a matter of urgency, all cankers on the tree trunks, whether large or small infections, have to be exposed, by removing the tree guards, and then cut out. The wound should be painted with “heal and seal,” with at least a 1-inch overlap, right around the trunk if necessary. This method of control has to be completed by no later than the end of October. A second check of the treated wounds should be carried by the end of March, before the trees get into leaf.

If you find a lot of canker infection, it may be necessary to adjust the nutritional programme of the trees. Nitrogen and high humidity make the ideal conditions for rapid growth of the canker fungus. Therefore, if your trees are suffering from canker, it is wrong to apply any nitrogen from September to the end of February. If nitrogen has to be applied, it is best to do it during the first week of March.

October fruit tree tips – pruning and light

This is the right time to cut out any broken branches. Seal the wounds with “Heal and Seal”.
If the top of the trees has extended beyond your reach, causing you problems during picking time, cut the top out now and seal the wound. It is best to do it now and not during the winter time.
If lots of new shoots and branches have darkened the centre of the tree, cut these shoots and branches out. You can do this now, while the tree is semi-dormant.

If you are interested in ordering trees ready to plant this winter, please visit our main website.