Apple and pear trees in autumn: watering, fertilizing, pruning

Apple and pear trees require additional care in autumn after harvest. In the autumn months, water-charging watering, top dressing, crown pruning, and treatment of trees from pests and diseases are carried out. The introduction of nutrients under pome trees is one of the important activities that directly affects fruiting next year. 

Top dressing of apple and pear trees in autumn

The application of fertilizers for adult apple and pear trees in the fall has already been worked out for years, and with the advent of ready-made specialized dressings, there are no problems at all. Complex fertilizers carry a supply of essential nutrients that fully satisfy the needs of plants for the intake of vitamins. Sometimes it is enough to apply only complex fertilizers in the fall. But with a decrease in yield, too much depletion or a lack of certain trace elements, you should apply the necessary fertilizers under the trees, which you can prepare yourself. 

Autumn top dressing of pome trees has special advantages:

  • Stimulates the mass formation of flower buds in the next season. 
  • Affects the increase in productivity. 
  • Increases the immunity of fruit plants. 
  • Helps to increase resistance to infectious diseases. 
  • Helps trees to better endure the cold.  
  • At the same time, it is very important to observe the dosage of fertilizers, the terms and rules for applying nutrient compositions. 

    Fertilizing apple trees in autumn: terms, rules

    The general rule for all pome crops is that top dressing is carried out only after watering. If it rains, then apples can be fertilized 1-2 days after the rainfall. Dry fertilizers are laid out in grooves prepared in near-stem circles at a distance of at least 40-50 cm from the trunk. Liquid formulations are poured into tree trunks after preliminary irrigation. 

    The last watering of apple trees is carried out in September, after which there is some time before frost, when the plants can absorb the nutrients introduced into the near-stem circles. In different regions, this time comes at different times. 

    How to visually determine that apple trees need replenishment of nutrients? This is easy to do by observing trees that signal a lack of nutrition by their appearance:

  • Early leaf fall. 
  • Slow development of shoots, low percentage of crown growth. 
  • Susceptibility of plants to fungal and other infectious diseases. 
  • Leaf chlorosis. 
  • According to the condition of the leaf plates of pome trees, it is easy to determine which minerals the plants lack: 

  • Brown spots are observed on the leaves, the shoots dry out en masse — a lack of copper. 
  • The leaves turn pale, becoming almost yellow — iron deficiency. 
  • The leaves become smaller, turn brown-yellow, the growth of shoots stops — a lack of phosphorus. 
  • Shoots turn red and thicken — lack of nitrogen.  
  • Top dressing of pears in the fall is carried out by analogy with apple trees. From mineral dressings, preference should be given to phosphorus and potassium compounds. From organic matter, it is recommended to add ash, humus, mullein infusion. 

    Caring for apple and pear trees in autumn

    In autumn, water-charging watering of trees is carried out, saturating the soil with moisture. A tree saturated with juices tolerates frosts and long wintering more easily. 

    It is recommended to clean the old mulch from the trunk circles, insect pests and pathogens of infectious diseases can find refuge in this layer. A new insulating layer of mulch is laid to protect the root collars of apple and pear trees from frost. 

    Trunk circles in the fall are freed from weeds and fallen leaves, it is recommended to burn weeds and other debris. 

    Trees protect against diseases; for this, apple and pear boles are whitewashed. Compositions for whitewashing trunks can be made independently or purchased ready-made in garden stores. 

    Whitewashed boles can protect the tree from rodents who do not like lime, but it is best to take additional measures to isolate tree trunks at the bottom with burlap, agrofibre, mesh, spruce branches or other materials. 

    Young apple trees in autumn should be especially protected from rodents, because weak stems are not able to recover from the barbaric raids of mice and hares. Therefore, young trees are securely covered for the winter in the standard part. 

    Columnar apple trees are prepared for winter in autumn in the same way as young trees of classic varieties. 

    Spreading crowns of young apple trees can be protected from snow load in areas where this is relevant. To do this, the branches are carefully tied with twine and covered with agrofiber caps. Such protection will prevent possible freezing of the kidneys, and the shoots will not break from the weight of the snow cap. 

    In areas with heavy snowfalls, it is very important to carry out regular inspections of trees to free the crown from snow cover. 

    Planting an apple tree in autumn

    Autumn is the right time to plant and transplant apple and pear trees, but it is important to choose the right time for this. As a general rule, trees should have an adaptation period after transplanting of at least 3 weeks before frost. 

    When planting seedlings in the autumn, there is nothing secondary, because if young trees are planted too early, vegetation will begin, which will then have a deplorable effect on the health of the tree. If the work is too late, the roots will not have time to take root, the tree will not survive the winter. 

    In different regions, the weather conditions are very different, so the question of when it is better to plant a pear or apple tree in autumn should be answered taking into account the climatic conditions of the region. Usually in the south this procedure is carried out from mid-October to November, and in the north — in September. 

    It is important to choose the right place for seedlings, especially you should pay attention to the level of groundwater in the area. For tall trees, the distance from the root to groundwater should be at least 3 m, for varieties with medium sizes — from 2.5 to 3.0 m, for dwarf trees — from 1.5 to 2 m. 

    When planting seedlings, the depth of the pit, which is prepared in advance, is of great importance. 

  • Dwarf varieties — 0.4×0.8 m. 
  • Varieties of medium height — 0.6×0.9 m. 
  • Tall apple trees — 1×1 m. 
  • How to plant an apple tree in the fall so that an adult tree, growing over time, feels at ease? I would like to say right away — leave enough free space between the seedlings immediately when planting. So dwarf trees are planted according to the scheme 1.5×1.5 m; apple trees of medium height — 3×3 m; tall varieties 6×6 m. 

    Make sure that the trees are located at a sufficient distance from the walls of suburban buildings. Depending on the height of the tree and the width of its crown, this figure should be at least 2-4 m. 

    Planting a pear in autumn is carried out similarly to an apple tree. 

    Autumn pruning of apple and pear trees

    Not all gardeners know how to cut a pear in the fall. It is recommended to carry out this procedure annually or after one year. 

    Important! Pear seedlings of autumn planting are not pruned before winter. 

    When pruning an apple tree in the fall (similar to a pear), two methods are used: 

  • Cut into a ring — excision of the shoot is carried out close to the mother trunk in the place of the annular influx. 
  • A cut on a kidney — cut off a part of the shoot above the kidney, looking outward. The cut is carried out at 45 degrees, obliquely. 
  • How to prune an apple tree in autumn so as not to damage the health of the tree? Do not try to remove all the intended branches at one time, the maximum amount of removal of branches is 25% of the total crown of the tree. 

    Remove all branches growing inside the crown, tops, basal shoots. 

    When sanitary pruning, it is necessary to remove dry, diseased and broken shoots.


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