Q: When and with what should I spray my apple, peach and fig trees to improve their fruit production? I don’t think they are bug infested, but I’m not sure.
A: You have already missed one of the important sprays but I think you can still have some nice fruit this year. The disease “brown rot” infects blooms but manifests itself just as the fruit ripens. You should spray your apple, peach and pear trees with a fungicide, like Captan, while they are blooming. Bloom time is over now but the next few whole-tree sprays are almost as important.
Use a “Home Orchard Spray” product, which combines an insecticide and a fungicide, every few weeks on your trees. Figs rarely have pests so leave them to their own devices.
Beyond pest control, your trees need to be fed. Fertilize now with one cup of 10-10-10 per foot of tree height and repeat in mid-June. Remember to scatter the fertilizer evenly under the branches and a few feet beyond. Most trees benefit from a third feeding in September.
In mid-May, you’ll need to thin out the fruit hanging on your trees so that they aren’t too close together. Leave five inches between adjacent single fruit. Put the ones you pull in a bucket and throw them far away – don’t let them drop onto the ground.
One of the main things a fruit tree needs is water during the time the fruit is enlarging and turning ripe. Water regularly in June, July and August as the fruit on individual trees fills out. If you follow this regimen for a couple of years, you should have plenty of fruit for pies and preserves.