Spring is here and it's a great time to be out in the garden. Here are some tips for looking after your Fruit Salad Tree in Spring.
As your tree starts to show off its’ new Spring growth, it is important to remember to look at each graft of your tree. Look to see if there are one or more grafts that are growing much faster than others. Trim back the faster growers to maintain the balance of energy to each graft.
In the nursery, our Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, Yellow Peaches, Yellow Plums and White Nectarines have woken up first, we know these varieties are strong growers, so we have pinched out the tops on some grafts to slow them down. Others have needed to be pruned a little more.
Tipping the grafts and balancing (pruning) the tree gives -the varieties that like to sleep in a little more- energy when they finally get out of bed and makes sure the early risers don’t get all the benefits :)
Visit our Tree care page for more tips on balancing your tree.
Don’t be alarmed if one or more grafts have not woken up from Winter dormancy!
Your stone fruit and apple Fruit Salad Trees will begin to wake up from dormancy now that the weather is warming up. Some stone fruit varieties wake up later than others and you will see flowers forming first, before they grow leaves.
Your citrus trees will also start to grow new shoots and flowers. Citrus are evergreen, meaning they keep their leaves all year. The leaves may have gone a little yellow over Winter, but you should see them start to turn a darker green now, due to the longer daylight hours and warmth in Spring.
Did you know: Fruit is produced from the flowers of the tree? Every flower on your tree has the potential to be yummy fresh fruit.
It is also important to check your tree for any rootstock growth. This is growth coming from the main trunk, not a part of the graft, or can be growing from the soil.
In citrus it is quite easy to identify as the leaves have three tips similar to a Club in cards.
The stone and apple rootstock can be tricky, if your tree is still marked with white paint where the grafts are growing from the trunk, anything else along the trunk is likely to be rootstock.
Some of our trees may also have hidden gems: Grafts that didn’t wake up before they left our nursery. These may have started when they arrived at their new home.
If you are unsure whether you have rootstock growth or a new graft growing you are welcome to send a photo through to us and we can assist with identification.
Rootstock removal needs to be done to ensure the original host tree cannot grow and take over the grafted varieties. The host tree is used for its vigorous growth and resistance to diseases, but their fruits are not edible, so we do not want them to grow.
The first fruits may grow within 6-18 months from the time you have received your tree. When we graft your Fruit Salad Tree, we use buds from mature, fruit bearing trees. This means there is not much waiting time for your tree to fruit.
If your tree is still quite young (in its’ first year) or small (under 1 metre), it is best to remove all the fruit when they are pea-sized. This will allow the framework(branches) of all the grafts to develop more. They will become stronger and thicker to be able to support the fruit in the following season.
If your tree is in its second or third year, thinning the number of fruits can also be beneficial to the growth of the tree. Thinning is done by removing about a third of the fruit on each graft, it is better to keep the fruit closer to the trunk of the tree and not the tips of the branches as this could weigh the branches down and cause breakages, unless they are supported. Read more about thinning the first fruits to allow for strong branchwork in our blog.
If you overlooked your stone fruit trees through Winter and forgot their annual May spray of Lime Sulphur or Copper Fungicide, they may have Leaf Curl. Leaf Curl is a fungus which causes blister like growths on the leaves and fruit. It mainly affects Nectarines and Peaches, however other stone fruit varieties are not immune.
If you notice the leaves on your stone fruit trees have been affected by Leaf Curl, remove these leaves and dispose of them in the bin. DO NOT place them in the compost.
Your tree will start to sprout new leaves which should be unaffected.
Put a reminder in your phone or garden diary to spray next autumn/winter because Leaf Curl, if left untreated over the years, can weaken and kill the tree.
Other pests and diseases to look for are Scale, Aphids and Leaf Miner.
If you have noticed ants running up and down the trunk and branches, take a closer look to see if you have tiny green/brown insects on the new growth. These could be aphids, which are sucking insects that take the moisture from the leaves and can transmit viruses into the tree.
Ants could also be a sign of scale, there are various types of scale, although all look small and domed shape with a flat bottom. These are sucking insects as well and use the nutrients from the tree for their babies.
In Citrus Leaf Miner can be an issue when new growth is starting. The Leaf Miner moth deposits her babies on the underside of the leaf, these burrow into the leaf and feed off it. The leave behind a trail of where they have eaten, and this looks like mine tunnels. These insects take the nutrients from the leaves and the leaves will start to curl over and fall from the tree. Severe infections can stunt the growth of the tree.
All three of these pests can be treated using Eco-Oil, Pyrethrum or Insecticidal Soaps.
All fruit trees require feeding once at the beginning of each season. Composted manures are a great source of nutrients for the trees. Some manures are better than others, but the rule of thumb is not to place fresh manure around the trees. Some of the organic matter in fresh manure can be too high and burn the roots of the tree. Manures also add good bacteria and fungus to the soil.
Slow release fertiliser is also a good all-rounder, as it supplies the tree with trace elements which it uses to grow and it breaks down into the soil gradually, so you can be rest assured that the tree is being fed throughout the season.
Tip: When applying fertilisers, mulch or compost leave a 10 cm gap from the trunk of the tree, this ensures moisture doesn’t sit against the trunk of the tree and cause collar rot.
If you would like further tips or information on caring for your Fruit Salad Tree please visit our Tree Care page.
Espaliered 6 Graft Apple Tree in flower
Keep up the care of your Fruit Salad Trees for bountiful fruits and enjoyment for years to come!
We stock a wide range of Fruit Salad 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.