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Watering Fruit Trees On Hot Summer Days

The first, almost tropical summer days of this year are behind us and if you want to bring in a good harvest in your own garden, you can’t avoid watering your plants and shrubs regularly. The fruit trees are often “forgotten” although they have an almost insatiable need in times of the highest increase in fruit weight. Although a moderate drought cannot harm the otherwise healthy and stable fruit trees and is even extremely helpful for the aroma development of the fruit, overwatering our apples, pears or cherries can severely water down the taste. However, if you water too little, you will soon find that your fruit trees are much more susceptible to pests and, unfortunately, diseases.

When even rain isn’t of much use

At the latest, when the soil has dried up to a depth of 30 cm, even the stronger-growing trees will have serious problems if there is a persistent lack of water. Even a long-lasting downpour at night will hardly contribute to a significant soaking of the fibrous roots due to its low penetration depth into the dried-up sand. Therefore, in preparation for the (hot) summer and even more so in view of the approaching holiday trip, a “Plan B for watering” the fruit trees should be considered.

Prepare the fruit trees for summer

If the drought lasts longer, even the watering edges around the trees, which may have been laborious beforehand, will not be able to do much to regulate the water balance. The often practiced watering habits of watering the trees a little every evening promotes at best the moisture and the unintentional growth of the roots in the upper soil layers instead of in the depths. But there is a solution, which, however, requires a certain amount of preparatory work.

Mulch under spittoon instead of dried desert sand

The following traditional melioration method is particularly suitable for somewhat older fruit trees. You will need (depending on the size of the tree):

  • about 100 to 150 l of medium-sized wood chips
  • two spittoon buckets with a capacity of 30 to 40 liters each (or mortar boxes, larger flower pots, or similar)
  • a manual wood drill

In the first step, the soil around the tree should be removed in a correspondingly large radius of 15 to 20 cm. Now fill up with wood chips (€299.00 at Amazon*), and if necessary add a 5 cm high layer of mulch (we will make the mulch (€14.00 at Amazon*) in the following article!). 15 to 20 holes with a diameter of 2 to 3 mm are drilled into each spittoon. Then both containers are placed parallel to each other and with the tree in the middle. Now the containers can be filled with water, if possible from the rain barrel. After 15 to 30 minutes you will find that both vessels are empty, with the entire amount of water distributed evenly over the entire root area.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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