How to look after fruit trees in the month of August. Read our tips on the work to be performed on fruit trees in a garden or orchard in order to keep them in good health. This is the last chance for summer pruning on cherries, and you can also start summer pruning plums, greengages, peaches, nectarines and apricots. Many crops will require protection from wasps and birds. Early apple varieties will be ready for harvest. Continue watering as necessary. Read on to discover all our fruit growing tips for August.
Fruit tree management in August
- Keep watering your fruit trees, particularly if they are carrying a crop.
- Look at the trunk of the trees to ensure that the bark is not damaged by lawn mowers or strimmers.
- Apples: towards the second week of August, if your apple trees are carrying too much fruit, remove surplus fruit from the tree this week in order to ensure that you have a crop next year. Concentrate particularly on damaged, small and green fruit in the centre of the tree.
- Do not pick apples and pears too early in the ripening process, otherwise the fruit will shrivel and will lack flavour.
- In the third week of August, depending on the weather conditions of the season, an early variety like Discovery apples may be ready to pick.
- Carry out summer pruning where necessary. Cherries, peaches, nectarines and apricots should be pruned before the end of August in order to avoid infections by various tree diseases. On these trees, summer pruning means cutting out surplus older wood, creating more sun and room for younger 1 to 3-year-old wood, and bringing the trees back to a manageable size. Read more about pruning cherry trees. Plums and greengages can also be summer pruned now, followed by a last pruning in September once all the fruit has been harvested. Remember that plums, cherries, greengages, peaches, nectarines and apricots should not be pruned in winter. Read how to prune plum trees.
- This is also the right time to prune away surplus growth on trees which are being trained as cordons, fan or espaliers or step-over trees.
How to control pests and diseases on fruit trees in August
- From the first week of August, wasps and flies can be a great problem with plums and cherries and later on with apples and pears. These insects are particularly interested when fruits are becoming over-ripe. Therefore do not delay in picking the fruits when ripe. Secondly, make sure local wasps’ nests are dealt with. Wasp traps are only partially effective. Clearing the nests in the vicinity is the best solution. Watch a video on how to deal with wasps.
- For all fruit trees: net the trees if birds are pecking the fruits. If not, wasps will exploit the bird pecks and hollow out the fruits, whether apples, pears, plums or greengages.
- Mice are increasing in numbers, particularly around fruit trees. Keep the area around the trunk, grass and weed-free, as this is the sort of shelter that mice like.
- Make a regular check and remove any fruits showing brown rot. Do not drop this fruit on the orchard floor. Spores easily spread and will infect other fruits still on the trees. Orchard hygiene at this stage needs to be taken seriously.
Garden orchard welfare in August
- August is an ideal month to improve drainage in areas where you intend to plant trees, and loosen the soil to a two-spade depth. This is particularly true if a hard layer of soil is found within the first 60 cm of the soil profile.
- Label your anti bird nets. This makes it is easier to use the right nets in the right place next season.
Soft fruit in August
- Raspberries: in the second week of August, cut out the old canes of summer fruiting raspberries, and tie in the new shoots. You will be regularly picking the autumn-fruiting raspberries
- Finish picking the red and black currants.
- Gooseberries: watch out for gooseberry sawfly. These caterpillars can defoliate your gooseberry bushes within a week. Organic materials are available in the garden centres to prevent this menace.
Fruits of your labours
- Some fruits can be frozen after harvesting, for use at a later date: raspberries, black currants, red currants, blue berries and gooseberries freeze beautifully, without loss of quality. Check to make sure you have enough space in your freezer.
- Never store early fruit together with long term storage fruit. Early varieties produce lots of ethylene and therefore reduce the storage life of all the surrounding fruits.
- Keep a diary of your growing experiences, particularly if something went wrong during the growing season.