The month of May in the garden is full of satisfaction because you begin to collect the first spring fruits, but it requires effort because the trees must be continuously monitored to quickly notice the pathogens. In addition, the demand for water increases and there is a large number of routine maintenance work to be carried out such as pruning and thinning. It is too late for new entries: temperatures are high and the plants would suffer.
Keeping the orchard clean and tidy is important both to facilitate normal processing and to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. If we have not done so before, it is better to cut the grass for the first time. The resulting flakes can be used to mulch the base of the trees: they are an excellent source of nitrogen and help to maintain the humidity in the soil. Alternatively we can take them to the composter where they will help to make the final product balanced and nutritious.
An intervention not to be forgotten is the thinning of the fruit that begins in April and continues until the end of March. Let’s eliminate first of all those damaged, affected by parasites, small or deformed. We continue where there is an excess in the same area. Apple trees, peach trees, apricots and sometimes plums benefit from this treatment.
- The land in the vegetable garden should already have been tilled and fertilized in May; if we were lazy in April, it is good to provide for this work now. So we can begin to put in …
Pruning and cleaning
It is necessary to intervene on a good part of the fruit trees: apricot, peach, plum, cherry, citrus, actinidia, vine. In most cases, however, it is only a question of finishing the work carried out in autumn or at the end of winter. The tips must be ticked, the chessboarding and the suckering must be carried out. The purpose of the checkering is to open the canopy by eliminating the jets that would obstruct the passage of light and air.
This is an extremely important process as it reduces the impact of cryptogams and guarantees better ripening of the fruit. The suckering should be done in the lower part of the tree eliminating unnecessary jets. If necessary, we also eliminate the jets from the rootstock: they only steal resources from the upper part, as they are generally much more vigorous.
Irrigation and fertilization
In order to obtain a good growth of the fruits immediately, it is important to follow them carefully with irrigation and fertilization.
The former are needed especially for plants that want moister soil (small fruits, actinidia) and with superficial root system such as trees not grafted onto wild. To stimulate both the enlargement and the accumulation of sugars (and therefore an excellent taste), we must not forget the fertilization. Usually, with slow release products, it is carried out every three months: on adult plants we prefer a product with a high potassium content, but which also contains microelements.
The trees of one or two years old, from which we want a good vegetative development, need a balanced product or one with slightly prevailing nitrogen. However, let’s avoid overdoing it because it could cause burns.
Pests and diseases
Apple trees and pome fruits require attention: there are frequent pitting (due to calcium deficiency) and the first signs of powdery mildew and scab. For these, it is advisable to use specific curative products immediately. Among the phytophages, we recommend the carpocapsa. It is advisable to use pheromone traps first, intervening with insecticides only if they do not prove sufficient. Aphids are also very common, but we use pyrethrum derivatives only in serious cases.
Pyrethrum is also useful for stone fruit parasites: aphids in fact occur on almost all fruit trees, but these active ingredients help to eradicate other parasites such as cherry fly or cidia in peach and plum. In the case of larvae we try to use Bacillus Thuringiensis or Spinosad. In the apricot we monitor the moniliosis and prevent it with sulfur.
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