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Protect Your Fruit Trees From Pests

Early Spring is one of the best times to plant fruit trees. The weather isn’t too warm or too cold, and there’s enough moisture to let the young saplings grow roots and grow stronger. Planting in the winter is far too cold for any tree to grow comfortably, and the summer sun can beat small plants down before they can get established.

While you may be getting the timing of your fruit trees just right, you still need to watch out for pests. Insects don’t care about the perfect conditions you planted your fruit trees in, they’re just looking for their next meal. Luckily, there are some precautionary measures you can take to keep pests at bay:

Keep the Area Clear

Bugs love long grass and piles of leaves where they can hide before hunting down their next meal. Trees provide perfect hiding spots when their leaves fall and the shade they provide allows grass and other plants to grow thicker around its base. Insects would love to make their home here and will eventually make their way to your tree where they can cause damage.

Keep insects away by keeping the area around your fruit trees clear. Rake up leaves and debris as frequently as possible, preventing the piles from becoming insect condos. When mowing the lawn, keep grass clippings away as well and use a weed eater to get the areas a regular mower would normally miss. 

Prune Each Winter

Pruning your fruit trees helps them to grow better. It allows for a better spread of sunlight on all the leaves and branches and stops the tree from becoming overloaded. Oftentimes when a tree isn’t bearing fruit, a good pruning will set it up for success next season. In addition to helping your trees grow big and strong, pruning will also keep pests at bay.

Different fruit trees require different pruning styles, so look up the proper techniques for the trees on your property. Also be sure to pick up the debris that piles up after pruning to prevent an accidental insect hideout. Pruning helps trees stay healthy, which deter insects and pests more than a dying tree that develops diseases and fungi that are more inviting.

Grab Some Diatomaceous Earth

Yes, it’s a mouthful, butdiatomaceous earth is one of the best ways to keep pests away from your fruit trees or any other plants you try to protect. Diatomaceous earth, or DE, is a powder created from the fossilized remains of freshwater algae. This powder dehydrates and suffocates pests that inhale or ingest it while remaining perfectly harmless to plants.

You can sprinkle DE on or around the leaves of your plants, or mix it with water to paint the base of your fruit trees as a barrier to insects. Food grade DE is perfectly safe for pets and children and is a great alternative to more toxic pest control sprays.

Don’t let pests ruin your hopes for homemade apple pie. Be proactive in keeping insects away from your fruit trees and you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor when the season comes and not a moment later.