Fruit Gardening Tasks for Early Summer
Control weeds around the base of fruit trees and keep grass short by mowing. Slacken the ties on newly planted fruit trees if they are getting tight — otherwise they will strangle the trunk. Where birds are a constant pest, cover fruit trees with netting.
Watch out for aphids on apple, pear, plum, damson and peach trees; these insects can be controlled by spraying with a systemic insecticide. Red spider mite can be controlled with dimethoate. Bronzing and early falling leaves are sure signs of fruit tree red spider mite.
Continue spraying regularly with benomyl or carbendazim against apple and pear scab. Apply pirimiphos-methyl or fenitrothion against codling moth caterpillar and tortrix caterpillar on apples. Where fruit set is heavy, thin out the fruit for the first time, but remember that there can be a heavy natural drop quite soon, so do not over-thin at this stage.
Check plums, damsons and cherries for signs of silver leaf — the shoots have a metallic appearance. Cut out all affected branches right back to healthy growth where no brown staining is evident in the cut wood.
On fan-trained plums and cherries, pinch out the tips of laterals not required for extension or as replacements, when they have made about seven leaves.
Having de-shooted wall-trained peaches and nectarines in late spring, tie in the remaining shoots to the framework as they develop.
Train new shoots of blackberry, loganberry and hybrid berries so that they are separate from the old fruiting stems.
Control weeds around all cane fruits by shallow cultivation, taking care not to damage the crop’s roots. Alternatively, pull out weeds by hand. Cover bush and cane fruits with netting to deter birds.
Apply derris or malathion to cane fruits ten days after flowering to prevent raspberry beetle attack. Water cane fruits well in dry weather while the fruit is swelling.
If gooseberry bushes are carrying a heavy crop, thin the fruit to improve the size of the remaining fruit, and use the thinnings for cooking. At the end of early summer, pinch out the tips of the longest new lateral shoots to about five leaves. Treat gooseberry bushes with derris or pyrethrum to protect against defoliating gooseberry sawfly.
Destroy strawberry fruits attacked by grey mould, which is common in damp spells. Deter slugs and snails with a deep straw mulch. Protect the fruit from birds. Propagate strawberries by anchoring runners.