With summer officially here in Florida, there are some additional things you need to do for your orchard to allow it to survive the hot, dry months. Although plants love the extra sunshine, the high temperatures, dry air, and influx of pests can destroy your garden if you arenâ€™t prepared.Â Keep reading for your summer orchard to-do list:
Some things like weeding, mulching, and fertilizing should be done routinely. Weeds tend to grow bigger and more quickly during the summer, so you should pull weeds more often. Apply fresh mulch to your beds during this time to help keep the soil cool and discourage weed growth. You should fertilize your fruit trees, except Citrus or Blueberry plants, in late July to help them recover from damage or nutrient deficiency. Establish a good watering schedule to help your plants survive the heat, and check container plants often for extra dryness. Plants need extra maintenance in the summer!
Are your fruit trees dropping tiny, immature fruit? You may be dealing with June Drop. Donâ€™t be alarmedâ€“itâ€™s your plantsâ€™ way of preparing for bigger, juicier fruit! During this time you should remove damaged and diseased fruit, hand-thin certain fruit trees, and perform any emergency pruning. Remove rotten and dead fruit, and remember to pinch the suckers off your trees. Pick up any fallen fruit to discourage unwanted visitors like insects and rodents.
One of the most exciting and rewarding aspects about owning and maintaining an orchard is harvesting and eating your fresh fruits and vegetables. Now is the time to harvest berries, greens, stone fruits, and some herbs. It would also be helpful to mow paths in your orchard to allow you to harvest more easily. Then, enjoy your delicious homegrown fruits by themselves or in a yummy dessert!
With warmer weather comes more bugs, especially in Florida. Pests love the warm weather and will try to beat you to your fresh fruits. Be on the lookout for fruit moths, apple maggot flies, trunk borers, and even birds in your garden. Different sprays can be applied to plants and traps can be placed to prevent pests and disease, and netting can be added over plants for protection from birds. For specific solutions to your pest problems, check out our Month-by-Month Orchard Guide.
Set yourself up for an abundant harvest this fall by planting certain fruits and vegetables during the summer. You can go ahead and plant some autumn crops like carrots, radishes, and broccoli to prepare for fall harvests. Now is also a great time to plant citrus trees which we have plenty of at the nursery! Citrus plants are very heat-tolerant and will be more ready to take on the cool months if planted during the summer. Your future self will thank you for this!
Completing this summer orchard to-do list should help your plants have a better chance of surviving the Florida heat this summer. Your orchard needs extra attention during the summer months, so make sure to keep up with proper care to allow your plants to flourish. Donâ€™t forget to indulge in your freshly grown fruits!