When it's very hot and dry, your fruit trees will need more water. Just as we get thirsty in the heat, so do fruit trees. The Australian heat can be scorching and it can affect your trees. Many people ask us when and how much more to water their tree in extreme heat conditions- after all, water is precious, especially at the moment!
We recommend watering your fruit tree in the evening, which allows the root system to absorb moisture overnight. If you'd prefer to water in the mornings, try to water very early in the morning.
Keep your tree moist at all times, especially in the hotter months. You can add mulch to help provide a buffer from heat, retain water, and avoid root competition with weeds.
Never water the leaves directly. Aim the water at the soil. Wet leaves can leave your tree open to bacteria, and water can also burn the leaves in the direct heat.
Leave your hose on a trickle overnight, once or twice a week if you can. This will promote deeper root development as the water can penetrate deeper. Rather than just watering the surface, you're providing water at the deeper level to allow the root system to grow deeper into the soil, which provides a wider foundation for the tree.
The 'drip line' is defined as the point on the ground where water will drip off the widest-reaching branch. Watering around the tree along the drip line will encourage the roots to reach out for the water and they'll extend and grow outwards.
If you're growing your fruit salad tree in a pot, water the soil from the top (not the tray), and deep water so that the deeper soil can benefit from the moisture.
It's good to have a little water in the bottom of the tray, as this indicates whether it has sufficient water.
As in the ground, try to place the water outwards toward the drip line to encourage the roots to spread.
Fertilise your tree at least twice a year, in late Winter and late Summer. Older manure is better than younger manure. Your compost is also a great fertilizer. You can also try mixing a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote into the soil or Blood and Bone or Dynamic Lifter. But, limit to only one of two of these fertilizers each application.
When using fertilizers, keep them away from the trunk of the tree, and top up the mulch when required.
Here at Fruit Salad Trees, we stock a wide range of fruit trees, which all boast different fruit on the same tree. Each fruit variety retains its own flavour, appearance and ripening time. We graft citrus, stonefruit and multi-apple trees.
Our fast fruiting trees can be grown in the ground, or in pots on your balcony.
For more information caring for your fruit trees, check out the Department of Primary Industries articles on fruit trees.
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