Arrrgh! It’s too warm!

apricot tree unpruned1

Go away warm weather! Never thought I’d say that in winter but it’s too warm right now and the trees will be fooled into sending out their flowers, thinking spring is here (it’s not) and then wham another freeze will come along and kill all the blossoms on the fruit trees and we won’t get any fruit again this year-just like last year-Wahhhh!

April Snow in Santa Fe

April snow storm in Santa Fe-2012

Good news. Bad news.

Good news-We got some snow last night-about 4 inches of very heavy wet snow. The good news is we really needed some moisture as it’s been so dry here. The plants and trees are loving it and the snow should knock down the pollen counts. The temperature this morning on the news was 33°F. But at the house the temperature read 31°F. Which one is true?

Bad news-We got some snow last night. The bad news is the apricot, plums and peach trees were all in full bloom here so we will probably not get any fruit from those trees this year plus the bees had been visiting the flowers of these trees so the blossoms will probably drop as well. If the temperature was above freezing, we might of lucked out and get some fruit. Time will tell…

Spring Maintenance for Fruit Trees

Spring apple tree maintenance-pruned, well expanded and mulched, sprayed and watered.

Speaking of fruit trees, let’s talk about what else we should do besides pruning before the end of winter or at the beginning of spring.

-SPRAY DORMANT OR HORTICULTURAL OIL ON YOUR TREES NOWDid you ever notice the leaves curling up on some of the apricots or peach trees in the summer? This could be one of two things that cause it. The first one is peach leaf curl disease. It usually comes in wet springs-no problem here with that! We rarely have wet springs here in Santa Fe. The second one is aphid damage which is more likely here. This appears on the trees as curling or shriveling of the leaves in the summer. Aphids lay their eggs on the trunk and limbs and the eggs will hatch when it gets warmer this summer.  To kill the eggs, spray horticultural or dormant oil on the trunk, branches and buds (especially in the crooks where the branches join the trunk BEFORE the blossoms bloom). That basically means now. Spraying will also work on a multitude of other pests that overwinter on the trees. The oil works by smothering the eggs and is organic.

-CLEAN UP THE MULCH IN YOUR WELLSI usually pull aside the mulch that I put on the previous year but don’t get rid of it because you are going to…

-DIG YOUR WELLS OUT TO THE DRIP LINE.I know your tree is getting bigger but until it is full grown, it will really help when you water the well to get it out to the roots where it needs it

-INSPECT YOUR DRIP LINES TO TREESDrip lines are great for the trees for awhile especially while they are small. So turn on the drip line on a warm day and test it. Replace emitters that are clogged. Then add more emitters if your tree has grown during the past year.

-PUT YOUR MULCH BACK ON AND PUT MORE MULCH IN THE WELL (ABOUT 2 INCHES)
Don’t cover the base of the trunk. Trunks of trees don’t like to be buried so put the mulch up to it.

-WATER THAT NEW WELL-
Fill it up a few times each time you water. If we don’t get any substantial water this spring be sure you water more especially with our spring winds. Your trees will thank you.

-HANG UP YOUR CODDLING MOTH TRAPS ON YOUR APPLE TREES
Do this before the trees leaf out because fruit blossoms will follow (probably in March-just watch your trees).

Time to Trim Fruit Trees Now in February

If you haven’t trimmed your fruit trees yet you’re not alone. I haven’t done mine but plan on doing them by this weekend. You should trim soon before the buds swell or you’ll miss your opportunity this spring. Below is picture illustrating where to prune an apple tree.

Picture courtesy of http://www.weekendgardener.net

Last year I trimmed the fruit trees heavily so I shouldn’t have to trim too much this year. I just have to take off the water sprouts and small branches that have crossed and are touching in the interior. I didn’t get ANY fruit last year, not even an apple (and I always get those) because of the bitter cold winter we had.

Different winter this year-much warmer with little bits of snow. Not enough snow to quit watering once a month but certainly enough to help. Hell, any moisture helps out here. One more thing to check off my to-do list.