For Home Orchards
In regions where it is possible to work the ground in late December and January, this is the beginning of bareroot season - the time of year for purchasing and planting deciduous fruiting and ornamental plants while they are dormant.
If winter is dry, soak dormant established trees monthly until rains begin or trees leaf out.
Drainage is the most important factor when choosing a site for fruit trees. If the planting site has poor drainage (the hole, when filled with water takes longer than 4 hours to drain), consider fashioning a raised bed. Use rock, boards, or mounded soil to raise the soil 18-24 inches. Fill with amended native soil. Pears and apples tolerate poor drainage better than cherries and stone fruit, but all plant roots need access to air.
Proactive borer prevention means painted trunks. Flathead and other borers emerge at the first sign of spring looking for trunks on which to deposit their eggs. Don’t miss the opportunity to protect your trees. Mix equal parts interior latex paint with water and paint the trunks from the ground to 30” up. This easy preventative fix also protects young trunks from sunburn. Reapply at least every other year.
If peach leaf curl was severe on your trees last spring, and you haven’t yet sprayed, consult your local retail nursery for a fixed copper or other dormant spray recommendation. If scale or mites infest fruit trees in your area, dormant oil spray may be recommended.