May tips

Below is a checklist of jobs that need doing in the fruit garden in May.

Be guided by the weather and soil conditions of your own plot. Gardens in cold, exposed regions may be a few weeks behind those in warmer, more protected regions and jobs may need to be delayed.

Each month has its own set of jobs to do to ensure a productive fruit garden. Pruning, feeding, watering, planting, training and harvesting are activities that can bring immense satisfaction as you watch your efforts pay off - and bear fruit! Unlike vegetable gardening where crops are cleared annually, the fruit garden matures over years, resulting in a continually productive plot.


    * Avoid using insecticides on crops when they are in flower.
    * Pull off suckers appearing around the base of fruit trees.
    * Make sure fruit isn’t drought stressed, especially those in containers, against a wall or newly planted.
    * Make sure bees can access caged and cloched fruit flowers to ensure pollination.
    * Keep a check on late frost forecasts and protect blossom as necessary.

Tree fruit

    * Liquid feed fruit trees growing in pots with a balanced feed.
    * Remove frost protection from fan-trained peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds.
    * Control plum sawfly one week after petal-fall.
    * Be aware of cherry run-off (where some fruits turn yellow and fall off).
    * Remove wayward shoots on fan-trained trees and tie in better placed ones.
    * Deal with apple sawfly and capsid bug and prevent blossom wilt if it struck last year.
    * Deal with pear and cherry slugworm.
    * Put up codling moth traps in apple trees.
    * Get a fruit specialist to ring-bark overvigorous fruit trees.

Vine fruit

    * Take softwood cuttings of kiwifruit.
    * Tie in leading and sideshoots of kiwifruit.
    * Remove any winter protection from figs and carry out pruning.
    * Move growing-bags into the greenhouse to warm up two weeks before planting indoor melons, and water well two days before planting.
    * Plant indoor melons into growing-bags in a heated greenhouse.
    * Sow outdoor melons in a heated propagator.
    * Gently run your hand over indoor grape vine flowers to pollinate them.

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