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If a tree can fend for itself, you will still have a much better chance of keeping it in good health during its long existence by applying some usual precautions. This is even more true with fruit trees. We are going to take advantage of their winter sleep to give them a bit of a makeover! Difficulty : easy Purchase : - Arboreal white € 20 approx. / 3 liters or ten trees to brush. - Live bald in bag 10 € approx. / 25 kg bag, which gives 125 liters or more than 400 trees! Product to make yourself and brush. - Blue Bordeaux porridge, approx. 10 / kg dosage 10 g to 25 g / liter, i.e. minimum 400m² to spray. - Colorless Bordeaux porridge, approx. € 20 / kg to avoid staining the walls (vines, roses ...). Tools required : - Bordeaux porridge or lime milk. - A sprayer or a brush. - A pruner. - A wire brush and / or quackgrass.
Step 1 - Pick up the dead leaves
Pick up the dead leaves. Burn them if the tree was sick, otherwise save them for compost or as mulch.
Step 2 - Brush the trunks
Brush the trunks and carpenter branches to remove mosses, lichens and old bark. The larvae like it, but they must not be allowed to thrive! Use a "quackgrass" type brush so as not to damage the bark. In more serious cases, where the foam has completely invaded the trunk, a wire brush may be necessary.
Step 3 - Remove the mummified fruit
Remove mummified fruits with fungal diseases such as moniliosis, as they in turn may become vectors for spread. Fruits affected by moniliosis turn brown and become covered with circles of mold, then they mummify on the tree without falling.
Step 4 - Cut off dead branches
If winter is suitable for pruning trees, avoid pruning fruit trees during frost. So we just remove the dead branches by cutting them. The cutting of a branch is made between the wrinkle of the branch and the neck of the bark, in other words, according to a cutting plane passing through the upper junction of the branch on the trunk (the wrinkle), up to the small bead under the branch (the collar), taking care to leave the latter. If the diameter of the branch allows only sawing, start by sawing from the bottom up, to avoid that the branch, driven by its own weight, tears the bark when falling.
Step 5 - Start a fire
You must burn diseased leaves, rotten fruits and mosses. Do not put these elements in the composter at the risk of then transmitting these diseases to other plants when adding ripe compost.
Step 6 - Treat wounds
It often happens that branches break under the weight of snow, fruit or simply under the effect of the wind. They break and tear, often leaving ugly sores that will delight many parasites and fungi. If there is a risk of contagion to the rest of the tree, however, the healing power of the trees should not be underestimated. If the wound is small, rather than bandaging it, cut the affected branch cleanly at the base (see advice given in step 4). In severe cases where the tree cannot heal on its own, you can prepare an ointment made from clay and cow dung (called "St. Fiacre's ointment") or simply seal the wound with clay softened by water. Avoid sealants which prevent the tree from healing naturally and which very often cause rot. Finally, if the wound is old, do not touch it at the risk of doing more harm than good.
Step 7 - Treat the trees
Bordeaux mixture - a mixture of copper sulphate and blue lime - is often used in the treatment of trees. It is a fungicidal solution that prevents fungi (scab, sifting, blistering, mildew, etc.). The treatment is done just after the leaves fall in the fall, and will be repeated in the spring, just before nature wakes up. Be sure to dose the spray according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Another treatment at your disposal: liming, so dear to our ancestors. Lime milk - also called "arboreal white" or "white oil" - is a mixture of quicklime and water, to which sulfur is sometimes added. Its preparation requires some precautions (projections and toxic fumes), but rest assured, we find it ready in garden centers today. Liming helps fight against insect larvae (aphids, mealybugs, etc.) and fungi (blister, moniliosis or scab). The application is done by brushing or spraying on the trunks and main branches. Liming is carried out every two years. In both cases, proceed in fair weather and without wind to avoid loss and dilution of the products.
Step 8 - Protect
Certain species such as palm and banana trees can not stand the cold. To protect them, circle the trunk with a mesh and fill the space left free between the trunk and the mesh with straw, leaves, wood fiber ... Belt everything with a forcing veil or fabric to limit the humidity. We will avoid plastics (tarpaulins, bubble plastics, polystyrenes, etc.) which are not breathable. At ground level, it may be desirable to protect young trees which, for lack of deep roots, may suffer from prolonged frost. You will provide them with the necessary protection by mulching at ground level. Adult trees that have already proven themselves do not a priori need protection.