University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Summer News Article
line
SUMMER TIPS FOR THE FRUIT GARDEN

Charlie Nardozzi, Senior Horticulturist
National Gardening Association
 
           
If you planted new fruit trees this spring, make sure they are well-watered the first season, especially during the first few weeks after planting.  The amount will vary with size of tree, but a rule of thumb is five gallons around the base of each tree each week that there is not an inch of rain. 

Newly planted trees should be staked as well, resulting in a straighter tree with more growth and fruiting.  This is especially important if they are subject to much wind, and for dwarf fruit trees.  Make sure the stakes are sturdy, and that wire or twine that will cut into the trunk is not used.  Use old hose pieces on wire, old stockings, or plastic staking cable for staking.

Begin the early-morning or early-evening patrols for Japanese beetles and knock them into a can of soapy water. You can also hold a bucket under a plant that's hosting a beetle party and gently shake a branch and the beetles will fall into the bucket. Forget trying to catch them midday because they move too fast in the heat.

Apple maggot adults are laying eggs on developing apple fruits. Place red, sticky spheres (available from nurseries) in trees to fool the adults into landing on these "fake apples" and dying. Place four spheres per dwarf tree, and check them every few days to clean off the moths.
           
Birds love blueberries as much as we do, so protect bushes with netting. Rather than draping the netting over the bush (birds will be able to reach the berries) use stakes to suspend the netting over the shrub. Secure the netting to the ground to prevent birds from sneaking in.  Similarly with strawberries, use wire arches over the beds (like you can purchase for plastic tunnels) to support bird netting.

Even if you can't eat them all right now, take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and berries. Freezer jams are surprisingly easy to make, or at the very least freeze some berries for later use. Simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer; once they've frozen, pour them into freezer bags and seal.

Strawberry plants are in very active growth in summer after fruiting, and new runners will proliferate. Remove runners to keep plants spaced according to the method you're using so plants will put their energy into producing future fruit instead of new runners. Left alone, a bed will turn into a mass of foliage and few berries.

Once summer-fruiting red raspberries are harvested, prune out the canes at ground level that have fruited.  This allows the plant energy to go into this year’s new canes, which will fruit next year.  Don’t prune these newer canes back in order to make them more self-supporting, as the most fruitful buds are produced nearer the tips. 


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