Friday, August 16, 2013

Bordeaux for Fruit Trees


By some miracle it has not rained for twenty four hours now. At the first sign of sunshine yesterday morning I raced outside to spray the stone fruit trees, two nectarines, two peaches. Copper spray, or bordeaux mixture, is an accepted organic treatment for fungal problems of fruit trees. You can see it on my nectarine tree up above. It is a blue powder that you mix up with water and spray - except it always clogs up the sprayer, so I make a watery paste, and paint it on with a paintbrush.

My stone fruit suffer dreadfully from leaf curl, which deforms and curls up the leaves and stunts the growth of the trees, but for the copper spray to kill the fungus, it needs a reasonable dry period, so the spray doesn't get washed off too soon, just at the time that the buds are swelling. By the time the blossom comes right out and the leaves bud, it is too late. Stone fruit is a bit chancy in Northern Tasmania for that very reason - early Spring is so wet, that even if you can keep leaf curl at bay, it often rains the whole time the blossom is out, and the bees have to stay home due to inclement weather. So we gardeners hold our breath, waiting for a week of dry weather, just at the right time.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and get leaf curl, now is also the time to spray your stone fruit, when the leaves drop, because that's when the pesky fungus first gets in.


7 comments:

lucindasans said...

So you have many "children" whose health you have to fret over? Not just those with two legs.

I was wondering why your fruit trees got to drink a nice red! But it's blue!!!

GretchenJoanna said...

May God bless your trees!
My daughter here in the Northern Hemisphere also has the problem of timing for these sprays - well, likely two of my daughters - what with the snow and rain and all. I am going to send them a link to your post just in case they need a reminder for now or next spring.

Jo said...

Lucinda, anyone inclined to fretting should take up gardening. There is so much scope for disaster! And I was trying to work a pun in to the title but nothing I thought of quite came off..
And Gretchen Joanna, at least I don't have to contend with snow in my garden. Hope your daughters' trees had mighty harvests this summer.

GretchenJoanna said...

Jo, your comment about the scope for disaster is perfect. I am saving it as an eminently quotable quote.

Heather said...

You are such a knowledgeable gardener,Jo. I wish I was as educated about my plants as you are about yours. I get a bit overwhelmed when I think about learning about all the care each plant in my garden will need and what to do for it in our zone. Maybe if I just start off slowly, one or two. If I see good results it may inspire me to give my other plants the extra TLC they need.

Jo said...

Gretchen Joanna, it is a corruption of Anne of Green Gables' 'scope for the imagination' of course! There are so many words you can substitute which make a wonderfully descriptive phrase.
Heather, I am a compulsive reader about everything, and gardening is no exception, and every Saturday morning I listen to my local Gardener's Talkback on the radio while driving the children around, which features Australia's most famous TV gardener, who lives up the river (Peter Cundall, you Australian readers. We are so lucky!), and he tells us what to do each week in our region. Peter is about 82 now and still bouncing with vitality from all that organic kale he grows, his Yorkshire accent still as broad and gorgeous as ever. So I have good advice!
There must be good local gardening books for your region. Any good bookshop should have a decent gardening section which would feature local books.
Any Californians out there with book suggestions? Gardening magazines? Put out a call on your blog Heather!
I have one 'master' gardening book (Peter Cundall, of course!) which gives gardening advice month by month. Whenever I read some good gardening advice in another book I write it in the margins of my main gardening book for that month. It is also dripping with newspaper and magazine cuttings now. I have to pull out that book very carefully.
And lastly - if your plants are generally happy, then you probably don't need to bother about them. If one looks ill, that's the one you could research. If I can't make a plant happy after a year or so, I pull it out and plant something guaranteed to like the local condiditons. Happy gardening (Iknow I get carried away...)

e / dig in said...

add to list of things to do... thank you for the reminder

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