Whether you have a full-fledged orchard or just a few fruit trees, if you tackle fall cleanup, you'll eliminate many hiding places for pests and diseases.
Specific trees require treatment now for specific diseases.
Apricot brown rot: Spray trees with a fungicide that contains copper, like a Bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate and hydrated lime).
Peach leaf curl: Spray trees with lime sulfur after leaves fall.
When spraying for these diseases, cover trunks, branches, and the ground beneath trees. Apply spray according to package directions regarding drying time and rainfall. Most sprays require a 36-hour rain-free window after application.
Till, broadfork, or turn vegetable gardens to expose overwintering insects to cold temperatures. Work a layer of chopped leaves or compost into soil, then sow a cover crop of hairy vetch or winter rye. In spring, till the bright green stems under to add more nutrients to soil.
Test Garden Tip: Don't add diseased foliage to the compost pile unless you know it gets hot enough to destroy disease organisms. When in doubt, throw it out or designate it for disposal at a city-wide composting site, where piles generate sufficient heat to kill problem organisms.
Continued on page 4: Winter Protection