How to look after fruit trees in the month of September. 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 plums, greengages, peaches, nectarines and apricots. Winter wash can be applied to control aphids and greenfly, and grease bands can be installed. You can begin preparations if you are thinking of planting new fruit trees. Read on to discover all our fruit growing tips for September.

Fruit tree management in September

  1. Remove any rotting or damaged fruits from the trees. Pick the fruit that is ready to eat.
  2. Do not store early-maturing fruits such as Discovery and Grenadier apples. Fruit for storage needs to be slightly immature. Fruit that is too ripe will not store.
  3. Finish the summer pruning of apples and pears.
  4. Peaches, nectarines, plums, greengages: as soon as picking has been completed, complete the last pruning. Do not forget to seal the wounds with “Heal and Seal”.
  5. Fig trees. Continue to water the fig if planted in a container. Protect the fruit, which is close to ripening, from birds. Watch a video about how to grow fig trees in the UK.

How to control pests and diseases on fruit trees in September

  1. Remove all fallen fruits from under the fruit trees. These harbour the rot spores of different fungi and will affect next year’s crop of fruit. Eliminate wasps’ nests and remove rotting fruits, which will hide the wasps, from the orchard floor.
  2. Once harvesting of plums and cherries is completed, apply a winter wash, obtainable from any good garden centre. Winter wash helps control pests and diseases by reducing overwintering eggs and fungal spores, for the control of greenfly, aphids and woolly aphids. It may have a negative effect on natural aphid predators.
  3. On cherry trees, apply treatment to reduce the risk of bacterial canker.
  4. Put grease bands onto fruit trees. They prevent caterpillars from climbing from the soil, up the trunk and stake, and into the tree. If they reach the tree, next spring they will start eating the foliage and fruitlets. Watch a video about how to apply a grease band.

Garden orchard welfare in September

  1. Remove and kill perennial weeds such as brambles, stinging nettles and couch grass.
  2. Mow the grass and the tall weeds in the fruit area. Mice are preparing for the winter. Make sure there is no hiding place close to the trunk of the trees.
  3. Apply farmyard manure or home-made compost around the trees, if the soil is in need of it. Remove perennial weeds before applying farmyard manure.

Preparations for planting new trees

  1. If you are thinking of planting new trees, start discussing which varieties would be suitable for your location with a knowledgeable and experienced fruit specialist. All types of fruit are site sensitive! Watch a video tutorial on planting new fruit trees – variety choice for cross pollination and frost resistance.
  2. Start preparing the ground where you are intending to plant your new orchard, cordons, fans or espalier-trained fruit trees. Check the pH of the soil which needs to be between 6.3 and 6.8. If the pH of the soil is below 6.3, apply some lime and work into the soil.
  3. Make sure the site and position is right; not in a frost pocket or on the northerly and shady sites of buildings, walls or hedges.
  4. Start setting out the proposed planting spots with tall bamboo canes.
  5. Obtain the right advice regarding pollination.
  6. Apply plenty of well-rotted farmyard manure and work into the soil up to a depth of 15 inches.
  7. Cut back overhanging branches of hedges/trees which will reduce the light in the fruit area.
  8. If you are intending to plant trees to be trained as espalier or fan, now is the time to install the horizontal wires.

Soft fruit in September

  1. Blackcurrant bushes: remove the wood which carried this year’s crop.
  2. Raspberry canes. For the summer-cropping raspberries such as Glen Ample, Tullameen and Leo, cut out all the old canes to make room for the new canes. After the autumn-cropping raspberries such as Autumn Bliss and All Gold have all been picked and have finished cropping, cut ALL the canes back to ground level. Remove/treat strongly-growing weeds.

Fruits of your labours

  1. Apples and pears which have been damaged by hail or insects, or have simply split due to weather conditions, will not store. Use them for processing into apple juice or cider.
  2. It is more effective to ripen pears in the fridge. Therefore pick the pears as soon as the abscission layer at the end of the fruit stalk gives way.
  3. Check the storage space for your fruit: it needs to be clean, cool and free from vermin such as flies and mice.
  4. Check that the thermometer in the store is in good working order.

Read our fruit tree care tips for successive months:

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