Grow­ers of high qual­ity fruit trees

The Orchardist - - Orchard Management - John Wil­ton is a de­cid­u­ous fruit spe­cial­ist, AgFirst

Do not plant into wa­ter­logged soils. Newly planted trees do not like this. If the soil is dry at plant­ing a short burst of ir­ri­ga­tion be­fore firm­ing the soil around their roots may im­prove root to soil con­tact.

If trees have been held for some time between lift­ing and plant­ing, giv­ing them a good soak­ing for 24 to36 hours to re­hy­drate them markedly im­proves es­tab­lish­ment, par­tic­u­larly if they have been held in bun­dles.

Weeds are the num­ber one en­emy of young trees. Start with a weed free strip 1 to 1.5m wide and keep it clean. Preemer­gence her­bi­cides do this bet­ter than re­peat spray­ing with con­tact materials. There are a num­ber of pre-emer­gent her­bi­cides that can be used on trees of one year old. Check their la­bels and choose the one best suited to your weed spec­trum.

Where mal­low is likely to be the dom­i­nant prob­lem, weed oxyflu­o­r­fen may be the most ef­fec­tive. Trees need to be fully dor­mant at time of ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause it can be quite volatile and also is more ef­fec­tive when ap­plied in cool weather.

L.E. Cooke Nurs­ery­man

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