Winter can be particularly severe, even devastating for the orchard because it is a season during which many diseases develop. To understand how fruit trees live in winter and adopt the right solutions to protect them from diseases, we chose to spend a little time with Charly de Jardiland for the wealth of her advice.
The cold sets in for a few months and winter is said to be a respite for gardeners. So is there nothing to do in the garden at this time of the year?
Even if during winter nature seems to sleep, let there be no mistake. The orchard, for example, requires attention during the cold season, and you are quite right to worry about it. Nothing is more sad to have to deprive yourself of the rich taste that fruit trees offer us throughout the year on the pretext that we have taken no precaution to protect them from diseases in winter. Fruit trees guarantee our good health, let's save them!
What are the winter diseases that threaten the orchard if we are not careful?
A winter veil is not enough to protect fruit trees during the winter. Diseases can overcome these plants in no time. It is therefore imperative to apply effective treatments to combat these scourges. Of course biological solutions are essential because they will not disturb the environment. Bordeaux mixture has been shown to be effective in treating cryptogamic diseases of fruit trees such as powdery mildew, scab or even blistering. These diseases are caused by fungi that affect the health of plants. Powdery mildew recognizable by its white down is very serious for the apple tree. The scab shamelessly attacks fruit trees like pear, plum, apple, and in the southern regions, the olive tree. As for the blister, it can destroy almond and fish for example. But fighting the parasites that cause certain diseases is just as fundamental to protecting the orchard in winter.
What do you recommend for treating the parasites that cause certain diseases in the orchard?
Again, it is very important to use only natural solutions to eliminate parasites. White paraffin oil is an organic insecticide. It eradicates red spider, aphid and mealybug which spend the winter in the ground or in the branches of fruit trees. The balanin which is a beetle pest of hazel and chestnut must also be eliminated. As for the larvae of certain insects, they dig galleries in the trunks of fruit trees which eventually dry out. Perfectly dosed, lime, clay, rapeseed oil are organic solutions capable of suffocating spores, eggs and larvae.
How does removing dead plants help protect the orchard from winter disease?
Plant debris of all kinds are pest nests. To protect the orchard from diseases, it is therefore imperative to devote a little of your time to cleaning the fruit garden. This partly consists in eliminating old stumps, coniferous needles, leaves, bark where parasites and fungi grow without restraint. The ideal is to burn these different debris. For the same reasons, we must also think of removing dead branches from fruit trees. And to avoid any risk of contamination, tools must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.