For Home Orchards
November is a good time to prune grapes. Whether using the spur or cane pruning method, refresh your memory by watching Dave Wilson Nursery's how-to videos on grapes in the Grapes & Blueberries section of Fruit Tube™.
County Extension agents are among the best resources to help a gardener understand their microclimate; plus, they usually offer soil testing. If you are just starting an orchard, invest in a soil evaluation. A glimpse into your soil’s makeup and fertility will help you choose a rootstock and determine if other amendments are needed.
Extension agents, Master Gardeners and local retail nurseries are resources for local dormant spray recommendations. If required, dormant sprays can help control overwintering insects such as scale and mites, and fungal diseases such as peach leaf curl and shothole.
The winter chilling period for deciduous fruits begins in the fall. A chill hour is one hour below 45°F in late fall or early winter. In southern and coastal California, the lower deserts of Arizona and much of the Gulf Coast, winter chill can be minimal, often lasting less than two months. It is very important that gardeners there choose varieties that are "low chill" and adaptable.
Calculate early and mid-season hours--late fall and early winter as trees enter into dormancy. Chilling in this period is more important than late winter when the trees are beginning to break dormancy and push buds.
Q&A: When is a winter dormant spray necessary for home fruit trees?
Q&A: Do I need to dormant spray my peach tree for leaf curl every year?
Links By State – Cooperative Extension & Master Gardener
Fruit Tree Chilling Requirement – the Basics
Fruit Tree Chilling Requirement (full discussion)