• Take care of your roses: feed, water, weed, mulch and remove faded blooms regularly. Spray if necessary at first sign of insect or disease problems.
• After the June crop of raspberries is finished, remove canes that produced fruit leaving new green canes, which can then be trained on trellises.
• Keep flowers and vegetables in peak condition by giving them a midsummer feeding with a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus than in nitrogen.
• Budworms eat the petals of geraniums and petunias, leaving you with no flowers. Spray plants weekly with BT for complete control.
• Birdbaths will attract our feathered friends to your backyard so you can enjoy them close-up. Place them a few feet from a bushy shrub to give the birds protection.
Summer Fruit Tree Care
Summer is the time when fruit trees grace us with their abundance of sweet, juicy fruit. It is also the time when fruit trees need your care and attention. They must be kept healthy and strong so they will produce well for you for many years to come.
Young fruit trees need particular attention. The most important cultural practice during the first year is watering. No other single element of plant care causes more problems or failures than over or under-watering. Water supply must be consistent. Drought followed by flooding can cause trees to stop growing due to the shock of these extremes conditions.
Check the soil weekly. A new tree needs approximately 10 gallons a week during the hot summer months. A tree two years old may need 20 gallons a week. A mature fruit tree can use 50 gallons a week or more. Fruit trees need water to size up their fruit properly. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently rather than shallowly and frequently. Water trees on clay soils every 2 to 3 weeks as clay holds moisture for a long time. For young trees, make a moat around the base of the tree so the water stays in the root zone. On older trees, water at the drip line of the tree.
Keep the base of your fruit trees weed free. Spread a 2- to 3-inch thick layer of organic mulch, such as pine straw or bark mulch, over the root zone but keep it a few inches away from the trunk. Organic mulch also breaks down gradually, providing organic matter to the soil.
Pick up fallen fruit as soon as possible after it drops, and destroy it. Fruit that drops to the ground can contain insect larvae, which burrow into the soil where they overwinter, to reemerge in the spring. A clean orchard is a healthy orchard.
Inspect your fruit tree bark, branches, leaves, and developing fruits often. Look for signs of insects and diseases and apply the appropriate organic controls. It’s usually easier to control pests if you act before or just as they are getting established, than to control them after they have caused lots of damage.
Paint trunks of young trees with white latex paint or Tree Trunk White to prevent sunburn which causes the bark to crack. This leaves openings for boring insects to enter. They can cause serious damage and even death in young trees.
While most pruning of fruit trees is done in the late winter, some can be done in the summer as well. Summer pruning can eliminate any dead, diseased, or broken branches. Prune off any new branches that are growing from the base of the tree (suckers) or straight up from horizontal branches (water sprouts).
Summer pruning uses thinning cuts (where the branch is cut off at its point of attachment, instead of part way along the branch) to train young fruit trees to the desired tree limb structure. If you want to keep your mature fruit trees at an easy-to-harvest height, summer pruning is essential.
Keep your fruit trees healthy and they will give you many years of abundant harvests.