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Special measures needed to put your fruit trees back on the right track

A Cox tree close to harvest. There has been lots of vertical growth as a result of the relatively light crop

This growing season has been of a difficult nature for most fruit trees. It was cold and predominantly wet, particularly during blossom time in the early part of the season. It was too cold for the honey bees to come out of the hives or out of the hollows of old trees such as oaks and willows. As a result of that, many fruit trees had a light to very light crop due to the lack of pollination. As a result, most fruit trees have put on too much shoot growth, which made the tree canopy too dense. If your fruit trees are as described above, then my advice is as follows;

Taste your fruits and when they taste nice and are ready to eat, then pick them carefully and make use of them the best way possible. Follow this up by sharpening your pruning saw and secateurs and prune your trees NOW and not during the winter time. Open up the trees to make plenty of room for the light to get right into the middle of the trees. Light is the most important source of energy for trees. A well thinned-out tree canopy is the best way to produce a quality crop next season. Totally remove dead wood from underneath the canopy. Take out half a dozen crossing branches as thick as your wrist, to lighten the canopy. Seal all the larger wounds with “Heal and Seal” obtainable from your garden centre. Loosen your tree ties as these may be too tight now.

Cherry trees and plums need to be treated with Bordeaux mixture, after the pruning session, to reduce the effect of bacterial canker and/or silver leaf. Follow instructions on the packaging obtained at the garden centre.

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