At this stage it is good to prepare our orchard for the summer: keeping it tidy and clean will be of great use to get good pollinations and avoid the spread of diseases.
First of all, it is important to make the first cut of the grass, especially if there are blooms: these would divert the pollinating insects from our trees. The grass flakes can be used as mulch or as animal feed.
It is also a useful practice to reduce waste when fertilizing trees: it is good to distribute a product with slow release specific for fruit trees, waiting for the indications of the producer and taking into account the age of the subjects. It is ideal to cover a large area around the trunk.
In the case of prolonged drought, you can start to irrigate, but with moderation.
Prevention of pathogens
In the spring, various types of infestation occur. Usually a large number of phytophages appear: if we are in bloom, it is advisable to intervene only with contact products or, even better, with macerated ones.
It is also good to prevent cryptogams: sulphur-based or copper-based products are excellent. In some cases (for example in peach trees), however, there are problems with phytotoxicity. So let’s use different preparations, always reading the label in relation to the specific problem to understand the modalities and doses. The ideal is to spray early in the morning or at most in the evening: the effect will be prolonged and we will avoid any burning of leaves, branches and shoots.
Drupaceae are often victims of monilia: if we see dark and afflicted branches, we eliminate them immediately, opening also the foliage as much as possible.
Pruning and grafting
Breeding pruning, for high-stemmed fruit trees, must be completed in the previous months, then towards November or until the end of March. Afterwards it is possible to make small interventions on the smaller branches, for example to shorten them by eliminating the apical flowers.
Recently planted trees (in their first or second year) should also be followed at this time, eliminating any branches that go in unwanted directions and trying to give an immediate good shape to the canopy.
Small fruits and citrus fruits require spring pruning.
April is also the best month to try grafting. The climate is favourable: the rains are abundant and the temperatures are neither too high nor too low. In addition, in this period the plants are in a strong growth phase: a determining factor for the rooting and the rapid vegetative recovery of the buds.
The orchard in April: Thinning of the fruit trees
It is a process that is carried out on almost all the stone fruits, i.e. plum, peach and apricot. These plants produce a large number of flowers and, if pollination has been optimal, will result in many fruits. Even with the best cultural care (fertilization and irrigation) we will not be able to achieve optimal growth for all: we will have many drupes, but small in size. However, the taste will also be affected, given the lower accumulation of sugars.
For this reason, selective thinning is used, to be carried out about 1 month after the end of flowering, shortly after setting. It is important that the kernel is still soft. First of all, the small fruits in the apical part of the branch are eliminated (which could break); then it is necessary never to leave more than two on the same bunch: besides growing little, there will be easy points of rooting for pathogens (in particular monilia).
For the rest, let’s concentrate on the smaller or deformed ones.
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