Surely not … and yet … we think these peach buds on our Anzac peach tree might be starting to swell soon.
Anzacs are a great ‘indicator’ variety for us, because they’re one of the early varieties to show signs of movement in spring.
Almonds are another great indicator as they’re also very early. Rather than having to monitor the whole orchard, we just go and look at the Anzacs and almonds to see what’s happening.
If you have peach and nectarine trees in your garden or farm, it’s time to start monitoring them for budswell.
Because it’s the trigger for putting on a spray to prevent Leaf Curl, which is a fungal disease that can have devastating consequences, particularly for young trees.
A bad case of leaf curl can even affect the fruit.
The good news is, it’s (mostly) preventable. You can find details about how and when to spray in Keep Your Fruit Trees Free From Disease. This is one of our most comprehensive short online courses, and includes guidance on how to manage and prevent about a dozen of the most common diseases of fruit trees.
Welcome to autumn! Though we’re having quite a warm summery week here in central Vic, we’ve had the first few cool, crisp mornings, and there’s a definite shift in the air.
Even if it still feels quite summery at your place, you can expect to start seeing some typical autumn features in your fruit trees soon.
For example you might start to see the leaves on your fruit trees start to turn yellow (if they haven’t already), especially if you’ve already picked the crop. The typical pattern is that the leaves will stay green and continue doing their job as long as the tree is bearing fruit, but once the fruit is off, it will quickly start go into senescence, or winter dormancy.
At that time, the tree starts to withdraw all the useful nutrients from the leaves back into the buds and bark — the first sign of this happening is the leaves changing colour. This type of yellowing is completely normal, and you see it every year.
Another reason for yellowing leaves that is of more concern is caused by lack of water, as you can see on this cherry tree.
It’s all too easy for this to happen when you have an automatic irrigation system, because drippers can easily block up, and unless you’re checking them regularly (which is a really good idea), you might not realise you have a problem until the tree starts telling you loud and clear by the leaves turning unseasonally yellow (you can see all the other trees nearby are still green).
Another common reason for leaves to turn yellow is from nutritional deficiencies.
A number of nutritional deficiencies can cause yellow leaves as one of their symptoms, including iron (as you can see above), manganese and zinc.
The fourth reason for yellow leaves is because of a virus disease, such as apple mosaic virus as you can see in this leaf.
Viral diseases are not good news, but unfortunately are not really treatable, so the best bet is to look after the tree as well as you can, and try to avoid the virus spreading by not planting other trees of the same type nearby.
So if the leaves on your fruit tree are turning yellow it’s probably a perfectly normal seasonal response, but your tree might also be trying to tell you something! If you feel like you need more detailed help diagnosing what your fruit tree is trying to tell you, please download a copy of Keep Your Fruit Trees Free From Disease short course.
If you live in a hot climate (like we do) sunburn is an inevitable part of fruit growing, but it can also happen in temperate fruit growing areas during heat waves, which unfortunately are becoming more common due to climate change.
There are three types of sunburn damage you may see:
1. Sunburn necrosis
2. Sunburn browning
3. Photo-oxidative sunburn
This week Ant (who leases our orchard) had his first experience of sunburn, when the Pizzaz plums were not quite ripe enough to pick last week, then the heatwave hit—a blistering day of 44C!
You can see the spots and shrivelling on the skin – that’s a version of sunburn browning. Most of the plums are still perfectly usable for jam, or cooking, or even for eating, but it definitely downgrades them.
Is it preventable? It can be incredibly difficult in cases like this, where there was probably only a very brief window of a day or two when the plums were ripe enough to pick (with the confidence that they would continue to ripen off the tree) before the heat wave hit.
In a home garden, if you were paying careful attention to both your trees and the weather forecast, it may be possible to harvest the fruit (or at least some of it) in time. In Ant’s situation, where he’s managing the competing needs of 5,000 trees it’s much harder.
If you live in an area that experiences heatwaves there’s a number of other things you can do to prevent sunburn damage, including irrigation practices, pruning practices, and careful monitoring—we list 10 different ways to minimise sunburn in “What’s that spot? Common diseases of deciduous fruit trees” (even though sunburn is not actually a disease, but an environmental impact).
The main thing to do when a heat wave is predicted is to make sure your trees are getting enough water, which may mean watering every day. The best time to water is either overnight or in the morning, to reduce evaporation.