August In The Orchard

plum blossom the beginningIf you blink you’ll miss it! The early plums are on the move, brewing up another batch of beautiful blossom. For those of you pondering copper sprays – this is your sign to get ready, the moment is nigh.

Take a quiet wander in your fruit trees to see which trees are beginning to roll into action. They get a little glow on as the energy starts to move and the buds start to swell. A subtle shift from stop to starting to move. Slowly and softly – then suddenly boom! There it is! Blossom!

plum blossom

If you need/ want to copper (eg: leaf curl or black spot last season), watch closely and be ready to act. The window of opportunity is small, and it creeps up, then is gone. Clean out your backpack sprayer. Buy in copper.

When To Copper

Copper is super toxic to bees so it’s really important you’ve done your spraying before blossom o’ clock. Spray while the buds are closed, but on the move. When swelling begins, but before pink. Do a second spray a fortnight later.

Fungicide In Action

The thing is copper is a fungicide. It wipes out the beneficial fungi as well as the bad.

Don’t tie yourself in moral knots here, just do the thing that needs to be done. If fungal problems weigh heavy in your trees, you are smart to manage them with copper because fungal problems get a foothold in your orchard and are hard to shift naturally. You can use copper at the same time as taking steps to build and improve your orchard system, so that one day, if you so wish, you can be copper free.

seckle pre harvest

Copper Free: My Healthy Fruit Tree Game Plan

It took about 5 years to get my orchard to this place of balance and strength. I’m not foolish enough to yell hurrah! I made it! – always journeying my friends. A slight rise or fall in temperature, more than usual rainfall, hotter/ drier – all these changes add extra pressure to our trees. Robust health is a management thing and a steady building that compensates for big crops and stressful seasons. Read all about my healthy fruit tree game plan here.


  1. Good morning! I recently purchased a lifestyle block, most of which is old orchard. I’ve spotted an avocado tree. Unfortunately it has grown in between a large old plum. And All the foliage is is about 15 foot high. Any suggestions as to how I could promote some new growth nearer to ground? Should I take out the plum to give the avo a chance? Oh how I would love to grow my own avos!

    • I can relate to the wish for Avo’s! but gosh without seeing it Gus I cannot possibly advise. Check out my “how to prune an Avocado” post ok (search it up on my website) and perhaps also “How much space do my fruit trees need” blog as well. The thing is all sorts of strange and unusual spacings and combinations work well – depending on where you live as to available light to your plum/ avo situation will the a big determining factor re amount of fruits. Have fun! Kath