May Fruit Tree To Do List

Waxeyes for pest control ediblebackyard nz

May is the month to get prep’d for fruit + shelter + fun tree planting. A little bit of tree research goes such a long way! Do it!

As does my favourite stake + marinate, an easy, hands on way of working out what fruit tree goes where before ordering your trees in.

If you aren’t sheltered from prevailing/ battering winds as yet, make good shelter your priority. Leave the fruit till next year or even the year after that.

Leave some fruits for the birds and bees – say thanks. Share the bounty.

Protect Citrus + Avocados from Frost

Frost protection is super important for young citrus, avocados + other subtropicals when the temps dip below 10.

Here we’ve put a simple ring of leftover deer netting around a young lemon and laid the frost cloth over top. The structure is important because you don’t want the cloth rubbing the foliage all winter/ spring long. Get creative and use what you’ve got!

Here’s another idea for a simple frost shelter.

A Biological Spray

autumn leaves falling in the orchard at ediblebackyard

Falling leaves mark the end of a growth cycle and the beginning of winters rest. All those tiny openings left by detached leaves create a prime opportunity to protect your deciduous fruit trees with a biological spray.

A pre prune ponder

pre prune ponder

Hang out with your deciduous fruit trees this month to consider your winter pruning.

What a difference this virtual run through makes on pruning day! Regardless of whether you are full of confidence or a beginner, we all prune better by far when we are connected to our trees.

Go for a tool free wander this month and consider what shoots you will tie down in spring, and what cuts you might make (if any) in winter. Here’s a useful checklist.

Other odd jobs

  • Get the last of the apples in and stored away.
  • If you were training branches to the horizontal on any of your deciduous fruit trees, take the ties off to prevent damage. The wood will be insistent now and the limb set in place.
  • Check all stakes and ties to be sure none are broken, wobbly or rubbing. I love these kinds of jobs, making everyone comfy and putting things to rights.
  • For those of you who don’t live in a high wind, give one/ two year old fruit trees a wriggle to see if their roots are holding them fast. If so, remove the stakes. Independence is good – it makes stronger trees in the long run.


  1. Hi Kath,
    Interested to know your thoughts about re-planting fruit trees in previously occupied orchard spaces?
    I have a number of ‘vacant” spots in my orchard left by trees we sadly lost to extreme wind events & water logging over the past months (a beautiful, established and prolific lime just closed up shop and died) and where I’ve ruthlessly removed poorly trees I’ve given up trying coddle along.
    4 old nectarines were inherited when buying the property & I persisted in ‘saving’ them for many years but regardless of trying many different management regimes, leaf curl & brown rot spoiled the harvest 8 out of 10 seasons. These trees were cut out & sites have now had a season to rest with root systems intact under comfrey & other companions but I wonder if the fungal burden above ground or below, will still overwhelm any new residents here? The other sites with wind/water damage were otherwise healthy trees so I presume safer territory to re-establish here – keeping in mind the apparent need to occasionally tolerate wet feet. But should I leave the remaining root systems to rot undisturbed and plant adjacent or move on in if we can dig a spot?
    Thanks for your ongoing commitment to generously share your garden knowledge, encouraging us to keep at it, know better and do better. I’ve learned so much from you over the years and look forward to your monthly reminder of what’s on the top of the to-do list.

    • Hiya Kirstie,
      The trick is knowing your land and matching the right trees to it. In this way theres alot less problems and management. Sounds like you are on your way in this regard.
      There is good reason a lime up and dies and a nectarine has constant fungal issues – both dont enjoy wet feet. Deepen your understanding of your land and all its microclimates first before doing anything else. I always recommend making a basemap (find it on my site) best use of your time ever! Then research trees that will fit this picture. When they fit well they perform brilliantly!
      The fungal burden is nothing to worry about – its merely a result of the wrong tree in the wrong place. Leave the roots in for sure it strengthens your soil rather than yanking them out.
      Choose your rootstocks with care, they set the scene for success. Enjoy the transformation.
      All the best! Kath

  2. Hi Kath,
    I’ve seen a neibour has put some wool around the bottoms of her trees.
    What benefits is there to this. I’ve lots of surplus wool from my sheep.


    • Lots of advantages Ciara – holding in moisture, holding back weeds and likely a bit of liquid manure when it rains from the dags! And of course a shining example of resilience – ie: using what you’ve got. Wool is also an awesome cap for a compost heap, or a great thing to lay on top of cardboard to kill off grass pre planting. cheers K

  3. I have an avocado tree thats already flowering, is it too late to do any trimming?

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