This month, City Fruit’s Tree Care Services will be offering mulching and netting for your fruit trees. Please fill out a TCS Interest Form to schedule your visit soon! Estimates on services are provided (at a rate of $85/hr for non-members and $75/hr for members).
Sheet mulching around your fruit tree is an easy way to improve soil health, which is essential to your tree’s health. Springtime is an ideal time to mulch as the tree awakens from dormancy ready to uptake nutrients, and put its energy towards root, branch, and fruit development. Not only does mulching your fruit trees look great, but it also helps your tree’s health in a variety of ways such as:
- Retaining moisture around the tree during the dry summer months
- Reducing weed pressure and making available more nutrients and water
- Supplying macro- and micronutrients important to a tree’s health and development
- Maintaining a cooler temperature during the hottest parts of the year
- Avoiding compaction and enhancing soil structure for healthy root growth
- Protecting the trunk from lawn mowers and weed eaters
- Expanding options to make permaculture guilds and to incorporate companion plants
Mulching before and after in Wedgwood neighborhood
As May has arrived, so has the time to net your trees! Netting apple and pear trees protects them from damage caused by common pests such as Codling Moth and Apple Maggot Fly, which are pervasive throughout western Washington. Under the guidance of Urban Food Systems, City Fruit is greatly reducing our efforts to net fruit trees in public orchards. This comes as a result of growing concern that netted trees create a barrier to the public’s access to the fruit on these trees. Still, City Fruit will continue to assist those who are interested with netting their own trees.
Once your fruitlets are about the size of a dime, you should cover your tree with a net. This exact time will vary year to year, but is generally in May for apples and in June for pears. We recommend that you first thin out your fruit leaving about 6 inches of space in between each fruit. The more space you give your fruit, the healthier and larger you can expect it to be. You can also net cherry trees, but because of the smaller size of pests such as Spotted Wing Drosophila, you will need to do so with mosquito net, which has a smaller hole size.
Please reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about the proven benefits of netting fruit trees. Further, here are a few of our previous netting resources: City Fruit’s How to Net Your Tree, and April 21st, 2020 blog post.. These links include information on how to calculate the dimensions of your net, different types of net, and local and online vendors where you can purchase net.
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