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To have a luxuriant or pest-free orchard it is good to commit oneself during every season, in order to prevent the appearance of the most common pests, or to eradicate them when the infestation is still in its initial state. At the end of the winter we start with a nice cleaning of the orchard, in order to wait for the coming spring.
As a first operation, if we have not already done so in autumn, completely clean the base of the plants from the possibly still present dry foliage; since most of the parasites, especially fungal, can remain in the foliage in dormant form during the winter, we avoid placing these leaves in the family compost, rather burn them, so as to definitively kill many of the spores of the fungi present in them. We also remove the branches ruined by the cold and any branches that show cracks or deep cracks.
Most of the fruit trees grown in the family orchard do not need large pruning, we simply remove excessively small, twisted and ruined branches, or which already show signs of disease; in general we avoid pruning the cherry tree, which tends to suffer particularly from pruning; we quietly prune apricot trees, European thorns, apple trees, especially if they are adult plants. Greater pruning will be carried out on Japanese plum trees, on excessively high branches of pear trees, on peach trees. In any case we avoid removing large branches, rather we shorten the existing branches.
After having cleaned the soil from leaves and twigs, spread good mature manure at the base of the stem and let's mix it by hoeing the soil, in this way we also lift weeds and remove them.
The parasites that most easily attack fruit plants are not very many, and the symptoms are clear and easy to identify.
A good preventive treatment, which goes to clean the plants from the dormant forms of mushrooms and small insects, is carried out at the end of winter, before flowering, when the buds are still dormant: the Bordeaux mixture is used; or a compound based on copper and sulfur, also allowed in organic farming.
Other treatments are practiced before flowering or when the flowers have completely withered, but only in the case in which the parasites already present on the plant are seen. In any case it is avoided to spread insecticides or fungicides in the air at the time of flowering, to avoid disturbing, or worse, killing, useful insects.
Orchard treatments: Fruit tree treatments
Further treatments based on insecticides or copper and sulfur are practiced only in case of evident infestation, however always after flowering.
If the season is humid and warm, with fresh nights, remember to spray the plants with sulfur after the rain, to avoid the spread of the bubble, a typical peach disease, which also affects the other fruit-bearing plants.
Against many insects we can find on the market a completely harmless insecticide for the environment, it is the bacillus turingensis, this bacillus is harmless to humans, small animals and fish, instead it is very harmful to many harmful insects, and also for mosquitoes.