Preparing Fruit Trees for Winter


| 11/30/2016 1:48:00 PM


Tags: fruit trees, mulching, composting, landscaping, Mary Lou Shaw, Ohio,

You’ve pruned your fruit trees in early spring then harvested fruit through the summer and autumn. Before heading into the warm indoors, take time to prepare your fruit trees for winter. This includes giving them protection from cold temperatures, rodents, infections and even the sun. The following three steps will help insure healthy trees for your next year’s harvest:

Mulching fruit trees with a thick layer of organic material will protect the roots from severe cold weather. Because fruit trees naturally grow by the edge of forests where the soil is littered with branches and leaves, similar high-carbon mulch is best. Wood chips, straw and leaves are usually most available and will protect the trees’ roots during winter. As this mulch decomposes the following spring, it gives soil a slightly acidic pH that fruit trees require for their best growth.

mulch-blog

Wood chips are a valuable source of high-carbon mulch and minerals. The highest in minerals are small branches not more than 2.5” in diameter. One source of these branches is from springtime pruning. Additionally, if tree trimmers are clearing electrical lines in your vicinity, ask them to dump loads of chips at your house. It may be a chore to transport them from driveway to orchard, but worth the effort any time of the year.

Straw is also a valuable source of high carbon mulch. Unlike hay, it is an excellent insulator because it has hollow stems which hold air. Always be sure the straw you use hasn’t been “dried down” with Roundup. You don’t want to mulch your trees with an herbicide that has also been patented as an antibiotic. We want the soil surrounding our fruit trees to be vibrant with microbes!

Leaves are a wonderful addition because the roots of trees transfer minerals from deep in the soil to their leaves. By enriching fruit trees’ soil with minerals, we are fortifying their immune systems from disease and increasing the nutrition of their fruit. At our house, we chop and gather autumn leaves with the lawn mower and then stack them thickly around our fruit trees.

mcreadie
12/2/2016 5:47:48 AM

Sheep's wool repels deer. Usually you can get the skirting wool for free, just drape it among the branches at browse height and deer won't touch it.


mcreadie
12/2/2016 5:45:22 AM

Sheep's wool repels deer. Usually you can get the skirting wool for free, just drape it among the branches at browse height and deer won't touch it.





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