Keep fruit trees naturally healthy
Try to prevent pests and diseases overwintering
Good hygiene is vitally important to keep fruit trees healthy. Clear up fallen leaves lying around trees, and if they’re diseased with scab or rust, place in your council green waste collection, rather than a compost bin. Similarly, remove and dispose of mummified fruits and place windfalls on your bird table rather than leaving them to rot. Prune trees regularly to increase air circulation and maintain an open centre. Always use sharp secateurs or loppers and disinfect in Citrox Disinfectant (£6.99 for 500ml, Two Wests & Elliott, tel: 01246 451077; www. twowests.co.uk) between cuts. Reduce spread by pruning stems infected with powdery mildew straight into a bag, and watch out for stems diseased with canker (bark shrinking or cracking around wounds), or infested with woolly aphid (small brown aphids covered with white, woolly wax). Prune off and destroy affected stems and rub off, by hand, woolly aphids sheltering in bark on the trunk, or blast with water. Protect trees by spraying a winter wash (blend of plant and fish oils) onto the bark from November to February on fine days. This removes pests, eggs, fungal spores and dirt. Try Vitax Winter Tree Wash (£10.99 for 500ml, Gardening Naturally, tel: 01285 760505; www.gardening-naturally.com).
Practise good hygiene by clearing up ro en fruit and leaves
Winter washes clean trees of pests and diseases
Try blasting off aphid a acks with water