The Winter Orchard

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Citrus

Citrus are at their peak in winter. The harvest can extend over many months, usually starting with mandarins in autumn and carrying through until the last oranges are picked in mid to late summer. Other trees, like Eureka lemons, seem to bear fruit practically all year round.

Feed citrus in late July or August with a good quality fertiliser. Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food is ideal as it combines composted chicken manure with added fruit-promoting nutrients.

Winter is a good season to get an early start on cleaning up pests and diseases. A mid-winter spray with Yates Lime Sulfur will remove the persistent white louse scale that sticks so firmly to the main trunk and stems. And a scrub with an old nail brush will hasten the scale’s departure.

Citrus can be pruned after harvest. Pruning isn’t strictly necessary but it can help to open up the plant and remove old citrus leaf miner damage. Cut off branches with this season’s gall wasp swellings before winter’s end.

Stone fruit and pomes (apples and pears)

Peaches and nectarines that weren’t pruned after fruiting should be cut back now. Have some Yates Liquid Copper on hand to spray the plants as the buds swell, before the leaves and flowers start to open.

Remove ‘mummies’, the shrivelled, dried fruit that hang on the tree and can become a source of fungal infection as the new leaves emerge.

Plant bare-rooted fruit trees. Dwarf fruit trees are ideally suited to small gardens. If you need more than one variety for cross pollination (as with apples, pears, cherries etc.), try planting two trees together in the same planting hole. It can be surprisingly successful.

A July spray with Yates White Oil will get rid of over-wintering scale insects.

Berries and climbers

Prune currants, raspberries and other caney berries by shortening shoots and taking out old canes at the base.

Plant passionfruit vines and, towards the end of winter, feed established passionfruit (again with Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food ).

Prune grape vines and use the cuttings to grow new vines for friends. Grapes grow very easily from bare, hardwood shoots – but make sure you plant them the right way up! Spray grapes just before bud burst with Yates Lime Sulfur to control mites and other pests.

Tropical fruit

Keep well watered if conditions are dry. Renew mulch layers over roots. Tidy pineapples and bananas. Plant new trees such as mangoes and paw paws.


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