Q:

How do you care for a fruit tree without the use of chemicals?

A:

Quick Answer

To care for a fruit tree without using chemicals, choose a pest- and disease-resistant variety, and amend the soil with organic compost before planting the tree. Feed the tree with organic fertilizers, such as seaweed or manure, and use neem oil, beneficial nematodes or beneficial insects to eliminate pests whenever necessary. Prune and water the tree using traditional methods.

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Full Answer

To prune the tree, remove dead or diseased branches in the autumn, and prune in the winter to remove excess branches. Water the tree regularly during the growing season, and apply a 4 to 6-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree.

To prevent treat pest infestations without chemicals, apply beneficial nematodes in the spring, and plant flowers that attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, parasitic wasps and beetles, to the property. Purchasing bees and maintaining a hive also benefits fruit trees, as bees encourage pollination.

If necessary, apply an organic pesticide to the tree, such as neem oil, and apply horticultural oil to the tree before and after buds appear in the spring to kill pest larvae. Before fertilizing, perform a soil test to determine which nutrients to add to the soil. Do not apply fertilizer unless it is necessary. Apply ample amounts of compost and other organic matter if the fruit tree is already established.

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