So far, this winter has been a warmer one. Many of us have expected cold frosts and freezes, but instead, received slightly chilly sweater weather days. This may be a positive for your electric bill and your driveway, but is it a positive for your fruit tree orchard? Due to the lack of winter weather, spring will likely return sooner rather than later. Therefore, we orchard owners must shift our focus toward preparing for the spring rather than making it through winter. Here are some tips to help you navigate these warmer weather conditions.Â
Continue freeze protection efforts:Â
So far, the weather has been warm, but you never know when an unexpected freeze can occur. Therefore, we suggest proceeding with your regular freeze protection efforts until winter is officially over in mid-March.Â
Donâ€™t prune your plants yet:Â
During previous years, we’ve suggested pruning your plants during the late wintertime. However, due to the warmer weather, trees are coming out of dormancy much earlier. Pruning now could further encourage earlier blooming, and in turn, affect the quality of your fruit.Â
Prepare your landscape for planting:Â
Since spring-like weather will likely arrive any day now, itâ€™s time to prepare your landscape for planting by plucking out weeds and replacing your soil.Â
Lay fresh mulch:Â
Weeds steal water and necessary nutrients from your fruit trees. Before those pesky weeds begin to sprout as a result of the warm weather, lay some fresh mulch. Mulch will suppress weeds from sprouting near your fruit trees.Â
Even if we only had a few frosts and freezes throughout this winter, check your plants for any perennials that died from the frost. Then, deadhead them by cutting the flower stem below the flower and above the set of healthy leaves.Â
Plant new trees, shrubs, and hedges:Â
A warmer winter means you can start planting earlier! Begin planting cold-hardy fruit trees such as apples, cherries, plums, and pears. Additionally, to sprout some tender greens in time for making those refreshing spring salads, you can begin planting vegetable seeds or seedlings.
Who would have thought that this season would have presented us with such little freezes and frosts? We hope our tips help you navigate these unpredictable weather patterns. Now itâ€™s time to get those roots in the ground for spring. We have plenty of cold-hardy plants on our site that are perfect for planting during this time of the year. Add some to your orchard today!