Fruit and Vegetables

The orchard in April

April: orchard

April is the month in which spring really makes its debut: days get longer and temperatures become milder. Frosts are now rare and short: they are found only in mountain areas or in some inland valleys, but the damage is never conspicuous.
In the orchard it is a fairly demanding period, but our work will guarantee us an excellent harvest in the coming months. This is the month in which many fruits bloom, such as apple and pear trees but also citrus fruits.

General workings

In this phase it is good to prepare our orchard for the summer: keeping it always neat and clean will be of great use to obtain good pollinations and avoid the spread of diseases.
First of all it is important to make the first cut of the grass, especially if there are blooms: these would remove the pollinating insects from our trees. The bundles can be used as mulch or as animal feed.
It is also a useful practice to reduce waste when fertilizing trees: it is advisable to distribute a slow release product specific to fruit trees, expecting the manufacturer's instructions and bearing in mind the age of the subjects. The ideal is to cover a large area around the trunk.
In the event of prolonged drought you can begin to irrigate, but in moderation.

Prevention of pathogens

In spring, various types of infestations occur. Usually a large number of phytophagous make their appearance: if we are in bloom, it is good to intervene only with contact products or, better still, with macerated ones.
It is also good to prevent cryptogams: sulfur-based products or cupric products are excellent. In some cases (for example in peach) there are problems with phytotoxicity. We then use different preparations, always reading the label in relation to the specific problem to understand modalities and doses. The ideal is to spray early in the morning or at most in the evening: the effect will be prolonged and we will avoid any burns on leaves, branches and shoots.
Stone fruits are often monilia victims: if we see dark and limp branches we eliminate them immediately, opening the foliage as much as possible.

Pruning and grafts

Breeding prunings, for high trunk fruit trees, must be completed in the previous months, then towards November or until the end of March. Later it is possible to make small interventions on the smaller branches, for example to shorten them eliminating the apical flowers.
The trees inserted recently (at their first or second vintage) must also be followed at this time, eliminating any branches that go in unintended directions and trying to give good shape to the foliage immediately.
Small fruits and citrus fruits require spring pruning.
April is also the best month to try grafts. The climate is favorable: the rains are abundant and the temperatures are neither too high nor too low. Furthermore, in this period the plants are in a strong growth phase: a determining factor for the engraftment and the rapid vegetative growth of the buds.

The orchard in April: Thinning of the fruit trees

It is a process that is carried out on almost all stone fruits, then plum, peach and apricot. These plants produce a large number of flowers and, if the pollination has been optimal, many fruits will result. Even with the best cultivation treatments (fertilization and irrigation) we will not be able to achieve optimal growth for everyone: we will have many drupes, but small ones. The taste will also be affected, given the lower accumulation of sugars.
For this reason it is necessary to intervene with a selective thinning, to be done about 1 month after the end of flowering, shortly after the setting. Important is that the core is still soft. First the fruitlets are eliminated in the apical part of the branch (which could break); It is necessary then never to leave more than two on the same bundle: in addition to growing little will be easy points of taking root for pathogens (in particular the monilia). For the rest let's focus on the smaller or deformed ones.