Protecting fruit trees usually means preventing the fruit from being eaten by birds and other creatures that love to gorge on free and tasty meals. But damage to fruit trees can also come at any time from fungi and insects that affect the bark or attack the leaves. Pruning carefully and at the right time of year for the type of tree is a good way to prevent fruit tree diseases.
That said, a solidly constructed fruit cage combined with some high quality netting will definitely protect the juicy fruits from being eaten before you can get to them. And after all the love and care bringing your fruit trees to the point where they are fruiting, a fruit cage makes a sensible investment. Once you have worked out the best approach to buying the right fruit cage then it should last you multiple seasons.
Spraying is often most associated with killing off unwanted bugs and bacteria. And yet, most plants and trees will benefit from a regular spray of nutrients like seaweed, straight on to the leaves to aid fruit growth and add shine to the leaves. “Foliar feeding” as it is sometimes called is an effective method for treating certain nutrient deficiencies. Typically every two weeks during the growing season will ensure healthy leaves and fruiting.
Cutting and pruning
This is alway a topic that causes stress for the novice gardener because it seems so easy to get it wrong. Each type of fruit tree will have it’s own recommendations and guidelines for when is the best time of year to prune. The risks of getting it wrong are not insignificant as you could be exposing the tree to infections from fungi or beetles. But get it right and you can appreciate the new growth and better shape your tree will be in.
Feeding and mulching
While everything may be looking right on the outside of your fruit trees, keeping it that way requires knowledge and awareness of plant nutrition and soil chemistry. Different varieties of fruit tree will have particular needs but common to all is the need for large amounts of potassium, essential for healthy bud and fruit development. Fertiliser will do the plant some good and mulching will ensure the soil is healthy and moist. Feeding and mulching your fruit trees is one of the best things you can do to guarantee fruit laden branches.
Monitoring & Harvesting
There are surprisingly wide variations in ripening periods for all fruit varieties and these can change each year depending on local climate conditions. Timing is important to get just the right balance of taste and texture. And for some varieties, like plum, thinning the fruits early on and during their growth helps to improve the quality. Some trees require timely physical interventions to prop up overladen branches to stop them snapping off. This all means regular visits to check on fruit tree progress. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=585