Winter dormancy is a fantastic opportunity to spray Stone fruit trees for leaf curl and other fungal diseases which in fact, cannot be treated at any other time of year! Lime or Copper spays should be applied to your tree either at leaf fall (Autumn) and/or at bud swell (this can be as early as June - depending on the varieties on your tree). If your tree has shown signs of leaf curl in previous seasons, it is a good idea to spray in Autumn AND at bud swell to ensure through treatment and good coverage. Sprays should be repeated about 1 week apart, and can be applied using a hand sprayer following the product label. Sprays for leaf curl are available from most plant nurseries and hardware stores.
Florda Prince (the yellow peach variety we use on our trees) is the first of the stone fruits to ‘wake up’ from dormancy. This ‘waking up’ can be seen as a swelling of the blossom buds, long before any leaves emerge. Development stages for stone fruit are shown below
(Source: Orchard plant protection guide for deciduous fruits in NSW 2017 – 18 NSW Department of Primary Industries).
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Clay soils present challenges for gardeners. Successful planting in clay requires preparation, a quick soil test and some easily gained understanding of your soil.
Clay soil has poor drainage. Do not dig a planting hole in clay soil and fill with imported soil for your tree - this creates a sump where water collects resulting in all sorts of problems and a very sad Fruit Salad Tree.
Possums love fruit trees as much as we do. The best way to protect young plants and seedlings from possum attack is to create a barrier to physically stop them from getting to your tree. You can add shade cloth or white bird netting at night time.