Give stone fruit, citrus trees some love this fall

Give stone fruit, citrus trees some love this fall

Give stone fruit, citrus trees some love this fall
Fall is the time to tackle peach leaf curl on stone fruit trees.

Nicole Hackett, Garden GirlCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Nov. 16, 2022) — Folks who grow stone fruit trees should have copper fungicide and dormant spray on hand in the fall to prevent peach leaf curl.

Administer the first application of fungicide to peach, nectarine, apricot and plum trees around Thanksgiving, once the foliage has fallen.

If your stone fruit trees suffered from blistered foliage during the summer, that’s peach leaf curl. Left untreated, it can cause fruit to be covered with raised wrinkles and irregular lesions.

Peach leaf curl is hard to control, requiring several applications during the tree’s dormant season. Spray around Thanksgiving and again at New Year’s, with a final application when the trees are in full bud – but before the buds open. Apply the dormant spray at this time to help control scale, mealy bug and other pests.

Note that apple, fig, pomegranate and persimmon trees have no need for dormant period spraying.

Give plants a boost

Mophead hydrangea growers have tending to do now as well. Those who grow blue or lavender hydrangeas need to apply aluminum sulfate to the soil beneath the plants. This will change to alkalinity to promote the blue tones in your flowers next year. Give your hydrangeas a couple applications about six weeks apart.

If you are seeking a more distinct pink to your hydrangeas, add agricultural lime to the soil at the same application rate. If you have white hydrangeas, you do not need to do anything.

Wait to prune hydrangea until the first signs of spring.

Azalea, rhododendron, pieris and camellia plants should all be fertilized with a bloom-promoting formula, such as 0-10-10. Depending on the color of your plants’ leaves, you may need to apply iron.

Citrus trees and shrubs need to be fertilized depending on their condition. If your trees have sparse light green to yellow leaves, feed with a fertilizer formulated for citrus. Those with dark green leaves and fruit setting should receive a formula that concentrates on bloom, like 0-10-10 granular. You can use water-soluble formulas, but you will need to apply more frequently.

Loropetalum and star jasmine would love some fertilizer at this time. Apply a multi-purpose formula. Look for a balanced formula, where all three numbers listed on the label are the same. We use 16-16-16.

Where the grass is greener

Lawns are also on the November chore list. Have your lawn aerated if it hasn’t been done in the past two years. Reseed the entire lawn if your experiencing thinning or patchy growth.

Spread a thin layer of premium soil conditioner on top of the lawn. If your lawn just looks summer rough, apply the recommended amount of organic lawn food throughout. We like to recommend organic lawn food this time of year. The humric acid and beneficial microbes will help with strong roots, deeper green color and disease resistance. Organic lawn foods are not label specific, so you can use the product throughout the landscape if you choose.

There is never any rest for the garden lover. Putting in the work now will help ensure a prettier spring.

Email Nicole Hackett at

Nicole Hackett
Nicole Hackett

Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with ­questions or comments by email at