October Orchard Keepers

The monthly Orchard Keepers series is designed to help tree owners and enthusiasts protect and maintain their trees! Look for quick, easy tips on the blog and in the City Fruit newsletter each month. 

Fruit in season: Does your apple tree still have fruit on the tree? A few cultivars are still not ripe enough to harvest. What’s the best way to know for sure? img_2668_2.jpgPick one and taste it! 

Quinces can still be on the tree. They should be aromatic and bright yellow in color, with the fuzz mostly gone, before they are picked. Store them in a cool, dark place to ripen further, for up to a month. A favorite use is quince paste or membrillo, the Spanish version.

Persimmons should still be on the tree. In fact, in our climate they usually don’t ripen before the leaves fall off the tree. Fuyu persimmons should be solid bright orange in color before harvesting. Astringent-type persimmons can be harvested when there is no more green color in the skin, and then ripened indoors. They will be very soft when ripe. Place in a paper bag with a ripe apple or banana to speed up the ripening process.

Watering: Remove your tree watering bags if you used them this summer and store them in a cool, dry place. This allows rain water to get directly to the roots. Be thankful for the rainy season!

Mulching: Mulch with what you have onsite: collect fallen leaves from other disease-free trees. If your fruit trees are scab-free, you can use those, otherwise dispose of them in your city yard waste bin. Use your lawnmower to shred bigger leaves to help them decompose more quickly. Remember to leave a mulch-free ring at least 2 inches wide around the fruit tree trunk.

Pruning: No pruning should be happening this time of year. You should avoid stimulating any new growth that will be damaged by cold winter weather. Best practice is to wait until January for dormant pruning.

Transplanting: Thinking about moving a tree? Late fall, once the tree has lost all of its leaves (i.e. is fully dormant), is a great time to transplant or plant a fruit tree. 

This month’s Orchard Keepers was compiled by Barb Burrill, City Fruit’s orchard advisor.


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