As we head into a key growth period, it’s timely to talk about finishing your fruit. By mid-October a number of orchards will have completed their first pick, leaving the smaller fruit to grow in size. During the period from September to December it’s suggested that here in New Zealand the fruit will grow a size count every six weeks. That’s almost growing so fast you can hear it growing.
To ensure you achieve the maximum growth rate, you need to have your house – or rather tree – in order. You need to have a good nutrient feeding programme that delivers target minerals, nitrogen, potassium etc. to the trees that enhances its growth. You need to have enough water and moisture available to optimise the tree growth.
This may involve irrigation during the flowering and post-flowering periods. Here in the Bay of Plenty we’re still seeing soil moisture deficits after the winter – particularly in areas where there was a big summer dry.
You also need to have the tree in good health, particularly having debilitating pests such as six spotted mite and leaf roller well under control. While six spotted mite is not aggressive at this time of the year, if it’s around it will be laying down a base population during these key months with a resulting impact during summer months.
It also timely to consider if your tree is carrying too much fruit. We are busy cutting small fruit off the trees to lighten the load and to protect the available growth into the fruit we want to finish. If it’s too small, it’ll never make it to a marketable size. Remember, growth will slow significantly in the height of the summer heat.
So given we may have our first pick completed, there’s still plenty to do to get our fruit to the finish line.