Scott's Yearly Calendar for fruit trees

Scott can you go through this calendar and make any update. I think this will help someone just starting out with fruit trees.


Scott’s Calendar

I have been making a monthly calendar of the orchard tasks I need to do so I don’t forget. Maybe you will find it interesting to see how I do things. It surely is missing several important things but it has a lot of them. Questions and comments appreciated.


Dormant Season

Maintenance actions

Stake any leaning trees

Check tree tags and re-tag any trees missing their tags.

Tighten up trellis wires


Move plants earlier rather than later to give them a chance to establish.

Dormant Pruning

Do this as late as possible on the grapes to prevent winter injury, and somewhat late on the kiwis and stone fruit.

All Trees: Prune back crossing branches on trees. Form either a gobelet or a spindle shape on all trees. Aim for 1’ or more between every vertical on the gobelet.

Black Currants: remove 1/3 of bush once its 2+ years old.

Red Currants: I need to look into this more, the British way is to prune them way back like grapes but the US growers don’t seem to do that.

Gooseberries: cut leaders by half and thin.

Blueberries: after 4-5 years prune out oldest canes from base.

Kiwi: Prune similarly with grapes.

Grapes: don’t do any pruning until March due to the dessication issue.

March Early

All Trees: Do dormant sprays now, they are most effective closer to when bugs start waking up. L/S and dormant oil on everything besides small fruits and 'cots; copper on 'cots. Make sure to L/S pears for pear blister mite. Until CB under control do copper on all stonef.

Pruning: Now is the time to do the grape and stonef pruning. See notes – aim for ~5 nodes per linear foot on the grapes.

Fall bearing Raspb: Cut to ground

June bearing rasp and blackb: Thin canes and remove any dead canes

Everything: start up the mulching process on all beds.

March Late

Figs: unwrap when temps are going to stay above 25F.

Kiwis: trellis up again if I had any laid on the ground.

Trailing blackberry: tie back up canes that were on the ground

Stone fruit: in cold snaps use row cover on them to protect blooms

Strawberries: Thin beds to one plant every 6" or so.

Major fertilization starting NOW – see above. Up to mid-April is fine, in fact that may be a better time. Put under mulch if the mulch is there.


Start vigilance for coryneum blight, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, fireblight, psylla, blister mites, deer, rabbits!!

Its grafting season!! Early April for apples and mid-april for stone fruits seems to be the optimum. Wait for warmer weather for peaches (hi 75-80 lo 50), they don’t like it too cold.

Early April, All Trees: sulphur+nuFilm17+seaweed or copper at pink to fight brown rot and other diseases. In general, sulphur any time from pink to petal drop and sepal drop is a good idea. Nufilm17 will mean a spray a bit early will still be effective.

All Trees: Sulphur+Nu-film17+seaweed or copper at petal drop and sepal drop to fight brown rot and other diseases.

Mid-April Pawpaws: hand pollinate the flowers with a brush. Another idea is put a handful of cottonseed meal under trees to attract carrion flies.

Peach: major alert for shothole; try to spray between every rain, best right after.

All Trees: Inspect all trees for borers from 1" above to 2" below ground; surround globbed there is one defense

All Trees: Petal fall: start surround spray regimen NOW and maintain until harvest.

Grapes: Start weekly spray, first one at 1" green. See above for the sprays to use; rotate through the different sprays. Other disease-prone fruits to hit occasionally with leftover spray: cherry, currant/goose, apple seedlings


All Trees: Thin fruit to one per cluster or one every 6". Thin asian pears very heavily. Bagging happens now.

Vinafera Grapes: Crank up the spraying in mid-May – thats when the diseases really take off. Hit hard, hit as often as needed. Also need thinning – when? Some need more thinning than others.

Strawberries: mid-late May put out netting on Earliglow. Also add pepper spray. Consider getting some red rocks as decoys.


Figs: pinch off shoots to slow down growth and force plant into making figs

Blueberries: need netting mid-June for bird protection.

All trees: Prune new growth back by half.

late June: begin Japanese beetle vigilance, picking them off daily. Surround spray on bad outbreaks.

Red currants: Possibly prune red currants now, according to Growing Fruit: 5-6 leaves on each lateral (assumes I pruned each lateral to one bud only in the dormant season).


Raspberries: After bearing, cut back the 2-yr canes to the ground and thin the 1-year ones to the biggest canes only (one every 4-6 inches).

Strawberries: thin out runners.

Grapes: don’t forget to do an occasional spray in this period, something like monthly, or the diseases will get going again.


Blackberry: remove producing canes (floricanes) after harvest. Thin primocanes to 10" apart.

Cherry: cherries need a disease spray or two this month, usually for powdery mildew.

Grapes: bag clusters as they start to sweeten with paper bags to deter birds and wasps

All Trees: Summer prune new growth on all trees back by 1/2

Bud grafting time if any to do



Overwintering Protection Plan (late Oct or early Nov)

Figs: after leaf drop, prune back heavily and protect with reflecting bubble insulation cover.

Feijoa: Same treatment as figs.

Fuzzy kiwi: Mature plants need nothing. Lay down younger ones on ground and cover.

Marionberry: Untie the canes and cover with reflecting insulation

Persimmons: spray with wilt-pruf to prevent desiccation


All Trees: Rake up all fruit tree leaves to prevent re-infection


Thanks Tony/Scott. This will be helpful to me and many others.

Hi Tony, I’ll try to revise that soon, some of the stuff is accurate but some things have changed a lot. My pruning philosophy is quite different now for example. Its also somewhat outdated on the spray regimen I use.


I think its that time of year to review Scott’s and Tony’s list. :blush:

I would never make a list of all the stuff I do in the course of a year. Makes it all seem so daunting! My list would be. “Putter around. Eat whatever is ready. BirdBlock, prune, thin, mulch and water as needed.”

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Its one reason I don’t really want to update it! Maybe this winter I will have time to update it. The original list is at least ten years old, I don’t think I had a lot fruiting and the main spray program I have now is not really there.

Scott its good for the ‘newbies’.

I keep up with some details but I don’t want to go overboard and forget how much I enjoy the puttering part.

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@tonyOmahaz5 @scottfsmith- Not sure which of you posted about using cottonseed meal to attract pawpaw pollinators. Does it work for you? I don’t recall cottonseed meal smelling bad enough to attract flies- but it must if you’re using it. I’ve been using catfish stink bait with limited results.

@scottfsmith- Scott I see you suggest putting cottonseed meal under pawpaw trees to attract carrion flies. Has this worked well for you? I have tried stinky catfish bait without success and also grafting four or five varieties into each pawpaw tree: the grafts took but the flies did not come. I don’t have the patience to hand pollinate so would be great if cottonseed meal works because it would be so easy to do mid-April as you say.

Some of the things written above were just ideas - if I saw a new idea to do many months from now I would put it in the calendar to remember it. That one I never did, and I always got plenty of flies on my pawpaw blossoms so I never bothered with it. I also never hand pollinated pawpaws. I tried it once on my difficult to pollinate plums and it didn’t help them. So, I don’t hand pollinate anything.

OK Thanks Scott. Think I’ll put a grocery store whole chicken under a couple trees a few weeks before bloom and see how that works. Or maybe buy some chicken necks from the crabbers around here.