Gardening with Evelyn: January’s assorted tips

Evelyn Weidner
(File photo)

Longtime gardeners, you already know everything I am about to say. Stop reading, go out and pull some weeds! For the rest of you, keep on reading. It’s time to buy new fruit trees. Prune and spray the ones you have. Why invest in fruit trees ? Because you want your garden to feed you as well as look beautiful.

Be sure to spray to prevent the ugly peach leaf curl that comes in the summer. Your citrus trees also need a mid-winter horticultural oil spray. Don’t spray if they are in bloom.

Fruit Trees. Prune first, then spray. Why spray the branches you are going to cut off? Don’t be afraid to cut your tree back to a shorter size. Make sure all the leaves are off your tree, raked up and thrown away. Those leaves carry the spores for peach leaf curl. Why spray now? When the damage appears, it is too late to spray! Spray thoroughly, not just a light mist. A copper-based spray is best. Liqui-Cop is one good brand. You need three dry days after spraying so pay attention to the weather. For best results spray once in January and then again at the pink bud stage. If you have multiple trees they will not all reach that important “pink bud” stage at the same time. Sorry! More work!

Hint: If you don’t already have a good Hose End Sprayer buy one now. They make spraying or applying a liquid fertilizer so easy.

Some tips on choosing your fruit trees. There are early, mid -season and late season varieties. I always like some early varieties. That’s when they are still expensive to buy at the market. Think about adding a white peach. Never available in the stores and they are so sweet and juicy it runs down your chin. If you have limited space and don’t want too much fruit at one time look at some of the 4-in-1 trees with multiple varieties on the same tree. It’s a good idea to have your fruit tree hole dug. You don’t want those roots to dry out. Put them in a bucket of water or covered with damp soil. Here’s another hint you need to know. At the bottom of your tree is a bump where the good variety was grafted onto a strong root stock. You want that graft to be above the soil. Both citrus and fruit trees sometimes get heavy growth below the graft. This growth will not produce good fruit. Always cut that growth off!

Hint. Black or boysenberries only make berries on new growth. Prune off the older branches that had berries last summer. Blueberries do really well here. You only need the right acid soil mix.

Gardening problems? First ask your local Garden Center. If they can’t answer your problem then contact your local Master Gardeners. They are highly trained to help you with any gardening problem. Tired already? Relax, have a drink and think about the great fruit coming this summer. Happy Gardening from Evelyn.