do I look after my fruit trees?
bought and planted 8 fruit trees in February never had fruit
trees. I have 2 plums, 3 apples, 2 figs. I was not able to plant
them straight away. I did water them but forgot on those very few
hot days to water a bit more and the leaves started to fall off,
so I watered every night. Now I read on one of the fruit trees it
says when planted, water once and not to water until in full leaf.
What is full leaf? I was told by a friend that it would cause rust
on the fruit with too much watering. Can you put me straight and
put me on to a simple written book for beginner fruit tree parents?
asked Jim Antill, one of our Landscaping lecturers, what he thought
about your question.
In summer, the soil around
the roots needs to be moist not too wet, not too dry. When
the trees are still in their bags, they get dry very quickly, so
will need to be watered every day in summer (not so often in winter
or they will be too wet).
After they are planted
in the ground, it is easier to keep them moist because they get
water from deeper in the ground. In hot, dry weather you may need
to water them once a week. To check, poke your finger into the soil
near the tree. Below the surface it should be damp. Your friend
is right, in a way: over-watering can cause problems by increasing
the risk of disease. Also, roots need air just as much as they need
water. If you flood the roots, they will drown and the tree will
Some trees (plums, apples,
etc, but not citrus) lose all their leaves in winter. At that time
they do not need watering. When the leaves come out in spring, they
lose water through transpiration so the tree needs watering more,
to make up for the lost moisture. The hotter and drier the weather
and the more leaves the tree has, the more water it will need. In
late spring, when all the leaves have reached full size, we say
the tree is in "full leaf".
Any general gardening
book that gives tree advice is OK: fruit trees are no different
to other trees, except that good pruning can increase the amount
of fruit or quality of fruit you get.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH