Preparing Fruit Trees For The Cold Weather

Sep 15, 2020

At long last, the temperatures are beginning to cool in northern Utah. Some locations have already experienced black frosts. During September the last of the peaches and apples will be harvested. At the end of the season, it's time to begin preparing fruit trees for the cold weather that will surely come. The idea is to not do things that encourage growth. Here are some ideas to consider.

Fall is not the best time to fertilize fruit trees. It is a great time to fertilize turf grass, but not fruit trees. When nitrogen fertilizer is applied in the fall, trees are encouraged to grow. If they continue to push out new growth this time of year that new growth won't be prepared for the cold weather that is sure to come.

Fall is not the time to prune fruit trees, wait until spring to prune fruit trees. Pruning is invigorating so pruning in the fall delays acclamation for cold weather. However, with the recent high winds if fruit trees were damaged by the wind, make good cuts where branches were lost. Don't leave jagged limb breaks. Use sharp pruning tools to do the job. Only do the best job you can to repair the damage. Don't do additional pruning until spring and don't cover the pruning cuts or tears with any sort of coating.

Northern Utah has not received significant rainfall for months. Even though we want fruit trees to go dormant, drought stress is not the way to accomplish this. Continue to water fruit trees through the fall. A deep watering every week or so is preferable to more frequent shallow watering. Once the leaves turn color and begin to drop from the trees, irrigation can be slowed or stopped.

Following these strategies will help your fruit trees prepare for and survive the winter to produce the bountiful crop in 2021.