Fertilize Your Fruit Trees and Roses

Farmer Roy’s Tip of the Month

Hello gardening enthusiasts!

February, even though it is one of the our least productive months in terms of harvest, happens to be one of our busiest months in the gardens here at Sunshine Care, A Community of Assisted Living Homes in Poway CA. With the few rains and warmer –than- usual weather, weeds are flourishing. Preparations for spring crops such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and melons are well under way. In fact, with no frost in sight, almost all of our tomatoes are in the ground. All of the roses and fruit trees have been pruned in our “dormant “season. New blooms are starting to pop on some of the deciduous fruit trees and the rose buds are starting to swell as well.

Time to fertilize!

Here are a few easy tips on kicking off the year with the feeding of your roses and fruit trees.

ROSES- Once you have pruned back your roses, in anticipation of many big fat blooms, make sure you spray with a dormant spray. One of the only sprays out there is Liqui-Cop, a copper fungicidal garden spray by Monsanto. Get some good coverage on the plant and don’t forget to hit the ground, free of debris, around the base of the freshly pruned roses. This will give you some control of fungal problems that might hit your roses.

Now you must fertilize. I use Gro-Power Plus 5-3-1, a humus base fertilizer and soil conditioner. Sprinkle one cup around the base of each rose bush and water it in with a hose. Easy!

Do this every month through September. Keep an eye out for powdery mildew and rust throughout the year, and you should have plenty of fragrant blooms for your house. Our residents and staff can’t live without them.
DECIDUOUS FRUIT TREES- We always prune back our deciduous trees heavily in January, after all the leaves have fallen. We apply Liqui-Cop on them as well, to fend off diseases. We will repeat this process two or three times until blooms start to cover the tree. Our peaches seem to blossom first, closely followed by the other stone fruits and apples.

Again- time to fertilize.

Deciduous fruit trees should be fertilized 5 times a year. Once in February, May, August, October or November (depending on your micro-climate) and one more time after you have harvested from the tree. Here we use a different Gro- Power product, Flower n’ Bloom 3-12-12. Sprinkle 1-1.5 cups of fertilizer per inch of diameter of the trunk, 2” above the soil line around the “drip line” of the tree. Water it in with a hose. Again-easy!
The only problems you should face soon after, is how to thin all the new fruit to encourage flavor and size, and keeping the birds away.

CITRUS FRUIT TREES- We never prune our citrus heavy in the winter, but just enough to keep the tree manageable and not have to harvest with ladders. Citrus trees are evergreens that are everbearing, evergrowing and evereating. You must feed them every month or every two months, to keep the leaves green and the trees beautiful and productive. Use Gro- Power Citrus and Avocado fertilizer 8-6-8. Follow the directions on the bag and work it into the soil with water from a hose. Once a month, spray the entire tree with water at high pressure to wash off dust and bugs. This will also serve a double purpose, by working your fertilizer into the ground. So fertilize and water heavy.

All Gro- Power products can be found at most of your local home and garden centers especially Grangettos Farm and Garden Supply, throughout the county. You can find Liqui- Cop there as well.

So feed your fruit trees and they will feed you.

If you have any other questions or would like a tour of the gardens here at Sunshine Care,
contact me- Roy Wilburn, Horticulture Manager- (858) 472-6059 or roy@sunshinecare.com

Check out our website www.sunshinecare.com to stay abreast of our free monthly garden lectures on the third Saturday of each month @ 10:30 am. Great speakers, refreshments, door prizes and a tour of the greenhouse and gardens, make it a day to remember.

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