How to look after fruit trees in the month of January. 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. Fruit trees are now in dormancy, and so this is a good time of year for planting new trees. There are many other jobs that need to be performed in order to ensure that both the trees and their immediate environment are conducive to tree health and good cropping. and capable of producing good fruit. If you have fruit stored for the winter, keep an eye on the fruit to ensure that it stays in good condition.

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Fruit tree management in January

  1. Check stakes and ties. Make sure the supporting stakes have not rotted off at ground level. Loosen ties where needed, if too tight.
  2. Start pruning apple, pear and mulberry trees that have reached regular cropping. Watch a video tutorial on winter pruning.
  3. Check that rabbit and deer guards are in good working order.
  4. Apply farmyard manure where trees have been struggling.
  5. We are now in the dormant period. Trees can be planted. Make sure that no grass or weeds will stop the young fruit tree roots developing properly. Remove any grass in the area around the tree, for about 1 square metre around the trunk. Apply an organic mulch on the same 1 square metre area around the tree trunk, but without the mulch touching the trunk. Provide a stake next to the tree and tie the tree to the stake with a FLEXIBLE tie. Protect the trunk of the tree with a proper guard. If deer are present a tall guard is essential. Watch a video on how to plant a fruit tree.

How to control pests and diseases on fruit trees in January

  1. Cut out dead branches and canker wounds. Now the leaves have fallen, canker infections are clear to see. To stop winter spores from developing, cut out all surrounding wood and the wound itself, until no brown markings can be seen in the healthy green surrounding bark and cambium layer. Then paint the treated area with a wood sealing compound such as Arbrex or similar. Watch a video tutorial on how to cut out canker.
  2. Apply winter wash if greenfly/aphids were a source of trouble last year.
  3. If you see woolly aphid, these should be removed. Effective insecticides are no longer available to the gardener or the allotment holder. Using luke-warm water and some detergent, brushing the affected branches will reduce the problem. Repeat the same treatment a month later.
  4. Protect fruit buds of plums and pears. Bullfinches can cause serious damage during the winter months. You can use scaraweb, a proprietary product based on a mesh of rayon threads, or simply wind ordinary cotton thread onto the branches. You could also consider nets.

Read our fruit tree care tips for successive months:

Go back to the fruit tree care calendar.

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