March Fruit Tree To Do List

Young Feijoa tree protected by long grass

Young trees need to be at the fore front throughout summer. This month, take stock of yours. Rescue may well be on your radar depending on how the weather’s been at yours.

If the soil beneath is dry, water them back to barely moist, then scatter some nicely pre decomposed arborist tree mulch about them.

  • Some long grass surrounding them is sweet, but if its excessive, or taking over slash them some space.
  • Check them over for pests and squash any you find.

The Apple Harvest Begins!

sorting apples

Figuring out when apples are ripe is a knack that comes with time. Check your harvest calendar and make note as the ready dates draw near. Go to the sunny, north side of the tree and find the ripest looking fruit. Cup it in your hand and gently lift it up – if its perfectly ready it’ll come away no pulling required. Pulling can take off next years spurs and besides – if you have to yank it, the apples not ready to leave home yet!

Slice your tester apple in half and check for brown pips. If the flesh oxidises and turns brown its not quite ready. Try again in a few days. And taste it too – surely the best indicator of all.

The joy of the home garden is that there’s no need to pick the whole tree at once. The shady side will take longer than the sunny side, so bide your time. But don’t wait for apples to drop: most varieties will be over cooked by this time. Aim to harvest them while they are crisp and juicy.

Harvesting is best done in the cool of the morning. Get them sorted and packed away before things warm up. Bruises shorten shelf life so place your fruit gently in the basket, dont throw it in! The bird pecked, black spotted, stalk-less and damaged go into a separate basket for eating or preserving. The perfect ones for long term storage.

Storing is, I reckon, the hardest part for the home-gardener. I tried many ways over the years and in the end felt that rather than risk the crop spoiling, once we’d enough, sharing it out in the community was the way to go.

Other tasks

  • Clear the ground beneath nut trees to make harvest easy. Either lay mulch thickly or cut the grass back. Start collecting walnuts as they fall. Lay them on racks in the sun until they are good and dry, then store in onion sacks somewhere cool + rat proof.
  • Plant spring bulbs beneath deciduous fruit trees. These team so well with comfrey – coming up amongst the old comfrey foliage and dying down as comfrey rises. Erlicheer and daff’s are a wonderful way to brighten life at the end of winter.


  1. Hi Kath
    i discovered black aphid eating through the leaves on my pear tree. I didnt know there was such a pest until i googled. the tree was planted early spring so didnt know what they were at first. I dont plan to spray and hope for some natural predators. Or should i just hose them off.

    • Aphids are predated by loads of beneficials so yes good for you for being able to leave them and let nature at it! If the load is too intense for the yung tree help it out by hosing or squashing.

  2. Hi Kath
    i found some good tips for my black aphid larve. I will do the simple hose them off trick and check my other trees.

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