Creating a new orchard is a big investment; with the price of trees rising annually, the pressures of canker seemingly endemic, and the need for trees to be established as soon as possible, the drive is to give every plant the greatest chance possible.
Research into canker is demonstrating that trees under stress are more prone to rapid infection. There are however many different strategies available to help manage this, all of which have some serious data behind them, stating the benefits.
One strategy that is clear, is the reduction of stress to the tree throughout the year, as lack of suitable nutrition is a primary cause of stress, and leads to low resistance and therefore infection.
So, what would make more sense than to use a controlled release fertilizer?
Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) can benefit both plant and soil health and the formulation doesn’t have any negative effect on the beneficial soil life.
It’s always a challenge to find a good nutritional balance, and concentrating on plant needs is often at the expense of the micro fauna working in symbiosis with the roots, so using a CRF can reduce the difficulty of this task.
Bolstering the natural immune system of the tree, with adequate nutrition, in preparation for periods of infection pressure should also be an ongoing process throughout the season.
Sporulation incidents peak with major seasonal changes, but just think of the number of times there are minor wounds from blossom, June drop or leaf fall, as well as the major wounds from pruning. It would seem prudent to always be prepared, a constant supply of tailored nutrition steadily delivered to your trees.
I know this seems like a crazy time of year to think about planting, but with harvest soon upon us, ordering products now, in preparation for planting, seems like a good move to get ahead.