Although the mild days may still be frequent, the month of October is the real beginning of autumn for our peninsula. The days are beginning to shorten visibly, humidity and rainfall are increasing and temperatures, especially at night, are getting lower. For the orchard, it is time to harvest the typical autumn produce, check for pathogens and plan the new vintage.
What can we gather?
The October harvest differs markedly from region to region. In the continental areas are prevalent pome fruit, chestnuts, figs, table grapes and grapes for winemaking, kiwis, persimmons. In the more temperate areas, on the other hand, the harvesting of early citrus fruits and table olives begins.
Before proceeding, the preparation of the storage rooms is fundamental: let’s clean them thoroughly and ventilate them; let’s also make sure that there are no rodents. For this purpose we use cellars or garages: dark rooms without strong temperature changes. We prepare supports where to place apples and pears, dry and well spaced between them. It is important to consume damaged apples and pears immediately and remember to carry out periodic checks.
The other fruits (persimmons, kiwis) must be kept at a certain distance to prevent ethylene from quickly bringing the entire harvest to maturity.
- This month we are definitely entering the autumn and nature is preparing for the arrival of the cold. The foliage of many trees begins to blush and fall, the hours of light diminish and even the tempe…
Irrigation and fertilization
The irrigation can be suspended in almost all of our peninsula: most of the fruit trees have completed their annual cycle and there is no need to stimulate further vegetative growth. Rainfall is usually sufficient for normal sustenance: an addition may only be necessary for actinidia (especially in the southern regions or on the coasts) or for citrus fruits. For the latter we only intervene in case of prolonged drought and on very loose soils.
In this period few plants need fertilization with synthetic products. We recommend citrus fruits, as their fruiting season begins, and almonds, which need nutrients after the end of the harvest. In any case, it is a good time to distribute abundant seasoned manure throughout the area covered by the foliage of the trees.
Pruning and other work.
This is the best time to intervene in training and maintenance pruning, especially on stone fruits that have already completed their vegetative cycle. Working now will give the trees time to heal the cuttings before the arrival of the November rains and the winter frost. At the end of these manoeuvres, it is advisable to carry out at least one treatment with copper: we will avoid the penetration of pathogens and dangerous copper cancers. This month is not particularly suitable for grafting.
October is the last month in which it is recommended to mow the grass. At the same time, it is important to clean the areas around the trees well: we collect all the leaves affected by pathogens and the fruits that have fallen to the ground. It will help us to keep our plot healthy.
Orchard in October: Pests and diseases
Particular attention must be paid to citrus fruits, chestnuts and olives. The former must be protected by a series of phytophages: we can use pyrethrum, spinosad or bacillus thuringiensis depending on the insect and its stage of development.
Chestnuts are often affected by tortricides: in recent years, interventions with specific nematodes have been well received.
The olive tree must be protected from the peacock’s eye: the most persistent formulations of copper are very useful (we will prevent them from being washed away by rain and diffused humidity).
Copper plants are also useful for pome fruit, while for many stone fruit it is better to wait for the leaves to fall (always inform yourself about the possible phytotoxicity towards the specific species/cultivar).
We carefully monitor the leaves and branches during pruning: we must be careful of the first signs of virus infection or bacterial diseases. Intervening early will avoid involving other trees.
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