Winter Care For Fruit & Citrus Trees

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Citrus Gall Wasp

Check citrus trees for lumpy swellings along the stems (refer to picture). These are indications of citrus gall wasp damage.

The female wasp lays her eggs just under the soft new bark in spring, and the larvae hatch out and eat the tissue, causing the lumpy swellings. Once tiny pin-prick holes appear, the larvae have emerged, so the best control is to remove the galls in winter as you notice the swellings.

Prune these off and place in a plastic bag in the rubbish, not the compost.

After pruning apply Yates Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food to promote new growth.

Fruit Set

Many fruiting plants take up nutrients now ready for spring. Boost passionfruit and mango trees with an application of Yates Fruit and Flower Booster Liquid Potash which contains concentrated potassium to encourage prolific flowering and improved fruit quality. The mixture can be applied over the foliage and the soil, where it’s easily absorbed.

Avocado trees begin to flower now, so an application of Yates Health Tonic Trace Element Chelates offers a complete range of important trace elements needed for healthy growth. Mangoes and lychee also begin flowering in the tropics now, and require good soil moisture for healthy crops.

Deciduous fruit trees and berry vines are available in garden centres and specialist fruit nurseries throughout winter. There are plenty of varieties to choose from, suited to your climate, including some fabulous dwarf, compact and skinny trees if space is limited. Dwarf trees make good sense as their compact size makes fruit easier to harvest and the trees are simpler to manage and net, protecting fruit from birds and possums.

On a visit to Brisbane’s Southbank ‘Epicurious’ edible garden, Super Dwarf Sunset Nectarine – Red Leaf Nectarine (also pictured) was displaying its eye catching burgundy red foliage.

At just 1.5m high it bears full sized yellow flesh nectarines in summer and suits warm subtropical to temperate zones. Prior to planting any deciduous fruit trees, enrich the soil by mixing in few handfuls of Yates Organic Dynamic Lifter Plant Food.

Pruning Time & A “Clean-Up” Spray

Deciduous fruit trees, grape vines, and fruiting berries can be pruned in mid winter when plants are leafless. Prune in winter to reduce size – shorter trees make it easier to pick and maintain, remove any dead, diseased or unproductive wood, open up the plants to improve air circulation and allow in all important sunlight, and promote new fruiting wood.

Immediately after pruning spray trees all over with Yates Lime Sulfur to control overwintering pests like scale and mites which can hide in bark crevices and fungal diseases such peach leaf curl. In cool climates where pruning can be delayed till later in winter after the frosts have passed, spray this month with lime sulfur.


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