Spring into your juiciest year yet with these springtime fruit tree care tips!
Spring is the perfect time to get your fruit trees ready so they can thrive. As the temperatures climb, you can almost taste the juicy fruit that spring and summer will bring. Read on for tips on how to care for your fruit trees in spring.
Fruit Trees in Iowa
Because of our cold winters and soil conditions, not all fruit trees can thrive in Iowa. But don't worry, you can still grow a fruit salad in your own backyard. We can often grow healthy and thriving varieties of cherries, plums, pears, and apples. With proper care, you can grow amazing fruit for yourself and your family.
How to Care for Fruit Trees in Spring
Once the snow has started to melt, there are some steps to take to make sure your fruit trees are well-cared for. Start by assessing your fruit trees. Take note of any damage to the branches or roots. Does anything need to be cleaned up? Did you face any obstacles in the previous years? Try to plan ahead to curb any issues you may have again this year.
Fruit Tree Pests and Diseases
Two things you must always look out for when growing fruit trees are pests and diseases. You can be proactive in preventing this by cleaning up from fall and winter. Make sure you rake up and remove leaves and any dead plant matter around, especially any fallen fruit you may have missed from last year.
Dormant or All-Season Oil Spray: These specially formulated oils are sprayed on your fruit tree's limbs and leaves to essentially smother any insects that are trying to eat or lay eggs on your tree. Be aware that dormant oil is meant to be applied while the tree is dormant in winter, while an all-season (or horticultural) oil may be applied at different times in the year. Be sure to read labels carefully!
Fungicides: Some fruit trees may be susceptible to a fungal disease that could seriously harm your tree's fruit production and lifespan. A dormant oil spray applied during the colder months can prevent this, but during the warmer months, you can opt for a fungicide spray applied at the base of the tree. A fungus is more likely to develop in wet and warm conditions, so be vigilant even during summer! We like both Bonide Fruit Tree Guard and Bonide Orchard Spray for spring and summer fruit tree care.
Pruning Fruit Trees in Spring
Early spring is a good time to prune and care for your fruit tree. You can prune back your fruit tree while it's still dormant and before it begins to bud. For new trees, you may have to do quite a bit of pruning to make sure the tree is growing strong. For trees older than 3 years, they will likely manage themselves quite well. Just be sure to check for dead, decaying, damaged, or diseased areas that need to be cut away.
Weeding and Mulching Fruit Trees
As spring emerges, so do the dreaded weeds. Since this is the prime growing season, it's wise to be on top of your weeding so the soil's nutrients can get to work growing your fruit tree and not nasty weeds. After weeding, add about two inches of mulch around the base of your tree, leaving about 5 inches of space from the trunk to prevent the bark from rotting. The mulch deters weeds from growing and also helps regulate the amount of water that the tree receives, preventing root rot.
Fertilizing Fruit Trees in Spring
Spring fruit tree care may not involve fertilizer unless your tree really needs the additional nutrients. If your tree grew less than 15 inches the previous year, it might be a sign it needs a little boost. Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Using a rake, incorporate the fertilizer into the top 3 inches of soil and water well.
If you're curious about spring care tips for fruit trees in Bettendorf, come visit us! We'll help you get your fruit trees thriving so you can fill your garden and fruit basket with beautiful, healthy fruit.