Over the summer, don’t pass on the few chores that will lead your orchard and vegetable patch to abundant and high-quality harvests. Just a few hour’s worth of care and your fruit trees will thrive!
In some cases, what you do will spell success or failure even for the following year…
Pit and stone fruit trees in summer
Space out fruits with stones if you haven’t done it yet: remove excess fruits, especially if the current summer is very dry. On peach trees, only retain a single fruit every 4 inches (10 centimeters) and remove leaves that are in the way of the sun’s rays to ensure they ripen properly. Cut sprigs of new growth back to five leaves from the old growth. This will send precious sap to the rest of the tree. Water your trees if it hasn’t rained in a while.
Eliminate off-shoots from your plum trees, they tend to exhaust resources, especially for younger specimens. Stake the branches for support if you see them bending under the weight of the harvest.
Summer, once the harvest is done, is the most auspicious season to prune or trim cherry trees. This step must only be performed if your tree really needs it, for example to get rid of ill-placed branches or eliminating some that didn’t bear fruit. Young growth will thus be supported. Protect wounds with pruning paste to avoid bacterial canker.
Lastly, remember to plant a few nasturtium vines at the foot of your younger trees. As they die off come winter, the web of stems and vines they leave behind will act as protective cover against frost.
Small fruit trees in summer
Mulch small fruit trees (raspberry bushes, blackcurrants, red currant bushes…) and water them after every hot day: their superficial root development makes them vulnerable to dry spells. After harvesting the last of the remaining summer raspberries, cut short whichever canes have born fruits because they won’t bear fruit anymore. Better redirect growth to new upcoming canes.
At the end of July, recover strawberry runners and plant them in nursery pots filled with compost and sand. These will serve to replace older, barren plants in fall.
If you’re fond of growing kiwi in your garden, remember to tie the actinidia to a lattice and thin weaker branches out if they form too much of a tangle. Use the trimmings to prepare cuttings from this prolific vine. You can set this off until September if your schedule is quite full already.