It is now almost at the end of the fruit season, with the final pickings of apples, pears, perpetual strawberries, late blackberries and autumn-fruiting raspberries. It is never wise to leave even the latest ripening varieties of apple and pear on the trees after the middle of the month as they face being blown down by gales.
Decide what new trees, bushes and canes you would like to grow so that they can be bought in good time and planted out before the weather is too cold or wet.
All fruits which have fallen should be gathered up, no matter why they fell. In many cases, apples, pears and plums drop prematurely because they may contain maggots of the codling moth and the red plum maggot. Both will crawl from the fallen fruit, after a few days, and into the ground to pupate.
Fallen leaves may also be carrying fungal diseases, principally apple and pear scab and mildew, from many fruits. If there is much evidence of this, sweep up the leaves and bum them to prevent infecting new growth next spring. When pruning later on, always be on the lookout for mildewed shoots and canker. Quite good control can be had by cutting them out in winter.
Grease bands should be applied without delay as many of the pests the bands are designed to catch will already be leaving the trees.
Strawberries can be kept fruiting longer protecting them with cloches or polythene tunnels. However, remember to ventilate whenever it is warm and/or sunny. Fungal diseases are rife this late in the year and thrive in the close atmosphere under cloches and tunnels.
Autumn raspberries can also be protected from the cold weather with polythene sheeting as and when necessary.
Finish pruning blackberries and hybrid cane fruits, such as loganberry, this month and tie the new canes in to take the place of the fruited ones cut out previously.
Although blackberries are hardy, some of the hybrids (such as loganberry and tayberry), are not entirely hardy. Therefore, tie the new canes of tender varieties into a bundle to protect them, and fasten this to the wires over winter. Remember to cut them loose and train in the canes next March, before growth starts. Start pruning bush fruits when the leaves have begun to fall around late October or November.
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There is still time to harvest: