Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fruit tree protection, figs, cherries, peaches, apples, pears

I did some fruit tree maintenance today. Each received a collar of thin stretchable plastic, covered with tanglefoot.

The figs attract ants, which enter the figs. This is a problem for two reasons. First, I suspect they carry fungus, so the figs spoil much faster. Second, they are difficult to extricate from the fig, so I have to wash them out, losing some fig flavor. The collar of tanglefoot was very effective last year, in stopping the ant problem.

Other trees, apple cherry, and pear, develop large aphid infestations. The aphids are tended by ants, so preventing ant traffic on the trees also prevents much of the aphid infestation.

Other tasks for fruits:
I added some more nylon bags, and adjusted others that were about to fall off. They look ugly, almost offensive, but if they do their job, they will be worth it. This is the 5-variety European pear.

I also sprayed all fruit trees with neem. Some of the apples have a lead disease, causing parts of the leaves to blacken and wilt. This is worst on Golden Delicious and Jonagold. I'm hoping that the infestation will stop in the warmer drier weather - 79F today. Peaches have significant leaf curl, all of it seems to have started due to uncovering the trees when they started blooming. The chilly wet weather that followed countered some of my preventive effort, but I still think they are much better off this year than before.

The thinned fruits, peaches and apples, are enlarging quickly. Now dime sized.

I also pinched (removed terminal growth) ends of fig branches that had grown 4 to 5 new leaves. The purpose is to stimulate fig production for the fall crop (main crop), earlier, and to stimulate compact branching structure.

Lattarula breba. Nice!

Brebas are falling off Hardy Chicago, but most look intact on Vancouver/Brunswick, Petite negri, Desert King, and Lattarula. The figs on Lattarula are swelling quickly, bigger than a quarter now.

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