February is a busy time in the orchard, it's the time to prune fruit trees and berry bushes, and plant dormant edibles and fruit trees in the ground . I'll also gather scion wood this week when I prune and store them in the refrigerator for Spring grafting. If you're thinking you may want to plant some fruit trees in your yard, now is the time to order them. You'll want to get them in the ground as soon as they arrive. Over the last 5 years I've bought most of my trees through Raintree Nursery and Burnt Ridge Nursery, they are located in the Northwest, but they sell all over the country.
Over the next few weeks I'll be focusing my energies on the fruit trees and berry bushes. My camera will be with me so I can share with you what I'm doing in our orchard. This is the time of year for a little love and attention on all the edibles. I've already been busy spreading compost on almost every fruit tree and berry bush (we have an abundance of compost material now with the goats) I just need a few nice dry days and I'll get much of the pruning done, you don't want to prune in the rain, you want the cuts to dry.
If you live in the Seattle area there will also be the Seattle Tree Fruit Society Spring scion wood and rootstock sale on March 24th. I'll include more information as the date nears. I have gone several years in a row and it's a fun and educational day, with demonstrations on grafting, edible landscaping, rootstock's and more. Plus it's an inexpensive way to build your orchard, it does take longer for the trees to produce, but you'll have the satisfaction of growing them from the beginning yourself.
Here is a good list from the http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/ for what to do in the garden and orchard this month.
- Prune and train grapes in first week of February (will not "bleed"), make cuttings from one-year-old wood with a minimum of two nodes.
- Prune summer flowering shrubs such as butterfly bush, escallonia, hydrangea, and rose-of-Sharon, roses
- Prune blueberries and currants
- Plant perennials, rhubarb, asparagus, and horseradish
- Start seeds 5-7 weeks before planting of cabbage, broccoli, collard, and kale
- Start lettuce seeds 3-5 weeks before planting outdoors
- If soil is workable, direct-seed sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons, calendula, clarkia, godetia, sweet peas, snapdragons and California poppies
- Plant garden peas
- Plant bare-rooted fruit trees, berries, and roses if soil is not frozen, the earlier the better.
- Prune fruit trees.
- Clean up any plant residue, fallen fruit, dead branches, leaves, prevents disease.
* A note here, I have never sprayed my fruit trees, I just spread compost this time of year and mulch thickly with grass clippings in the summer. There may come a day when I do decide to spray mildly, I just am not there yet where I feel they need it. Often times in gardening when the soil is well fed the plant or tree can resist disease and thrive. Below is The Home Orchard Society recommendation.
FRUIT TREE, SPECIFIC
- First week of February, third spray (copper or sulfur) for peach leaf curl on peaches and nectarines (same as December), you may also use this spray on pears to control pear scab - NOT on apples, apple scab does not over winter on the tree
- End of February first part of March - dormant oil spray to kill over wintering insect eggs on all fruit trees
- Cherry; Coryneum blight, fixed copper 53%, 1 oz metallic copper/ gallon of water or Bordeaux mixture.