Early spring maintenance when spring is early. (Dormant maintenance also)

So this spring, it’s stupid early, right? I was going to do a dormant spray this weekend but several trees are starting to bud (silver tip, mostly). So am I just totally out of luck here? Cold didn’t really arrive until a month ago and my apples just lost their last leaves a couple of weeks ago, so … yeah.

Furthermore, my brambles never truly went completely dormant. I have five different blackberries and raspberries and each row has a few leaves still, in addition to new growth that’s as much as 3/8" long. So a delayed dormant spray on these guys? Do I just do it and live with some “tissue damage?” What kind of “tissue damage” would I be risking, anyway? (That term seems to be the term to use when talking about spraying too late on brambles.)

Lastly, grafting. If buds are doing their thing already and I haven’t gathered scions yet, have I lost this year for grafting?

I fully expect it to freeze hard again. My pecan hasn’t seemed to budge yet, and that’s the one that seems to predict the end of cold weather. So do I just wait for things to get frozen back and then quickly spray and graft? Do I do it now? Do I toss in the towel and only deal with problems as they arise during the growing season?

Thoughts? Thank you!

It’s not too late to do your dormant spray on your apples. Delayed dormant sprays are commonly recommended on fruit trees.

I don’t do dormant sprays for brambles. I’m curious what are you trying to protect your brambles from?

It can be more difficult to graft scionwood which has broken bud. The problem occurs because the scion starts pushing foliage, increasing water demand, before callus/vascular tissue has formed to supply water.

I would still encourage you to collect your wood and try grafting. I’ve grafted peach wood which had sprouted with some success.


Excellent, thank you!

For the brambles, I haven’t sprayed in the past, but I’ve had some problems with runt-like fruit on a black raspberry, so I want to spray to see if I can prevent that this year. I don’t want to think it could be anthracnose, but it might be, so if I can clear it up or at least control it, great. If not, I’ll yank the row, I suppose. It’s the first one to ripen though, and nice and tart (my favorite), so I really don’t want to do that unless absolutely necessary. I chopped down a couple of crowns last year, so hopefully that’ll help as well.

I might do dormant spray on my peaches here in Zone 5A Maine on Thursday. It’s supposed to be 50 degrees after our Wednesday rain storm.