In the northern and inland regions, even in the presence of fine days, frost will be the master: it will make it inadvisable to work outdoors, except for minor maintenance operations. In the southern regions and on the coasts, on the other hand, the soil is most of the times workable and it is therefore possible to proceed with planting and fertilization. The ideal period is, in any case, late autumn: it allows us to work with plants in vegetative rest that will undergo very little transplant stress. The low temperatures allow to administer a good dose of organic soil conditioner, without risking root burns. We add that during the cold season there is a good development of the root system and, when the warm weather arrives, the fruit tree can concentrate on the foliage.
It is good to let at least a few days pass by the last rains: working on wet soil is difficult and favors compaction, especially if there is a high percentage of clay. We avoid working even on frozen ground. The most suitable essences for autumn plant are those that bear fruit from April to October: pome fruit, stone fruit, hazel, almond, walnut, small fruit.
Collection and storage
In most of our peninsula the orchard is completely at rest; the southern regions and the coastal areas where citrus fruit is harvested are an exception.
It is an operation that requires a lot of attention: it is important to check that each fruit is healthy, free of incisions and above all rot or mold. We clearly separate the healthy crop from the damaged one: we will thus avoid its spread. It is also important to keep the soil of the orchard clean and not let it come into contact with fresh citrus fruits, exposing them to the spores of pathogens.
Let us remember to keep an eye on the food accumulated in the storage rooms. We immediately eliminate or consume fruits and vegetables with the first signs of deterioration. We monitor the presence of rodents and ventilate on the hottest days.
Pests and diseases
In winter the spread of diseases is at a minimum; It is however possible to prepare our orchard to face the new vintage. We can carry out preventive treatments that break down the wintering forms of insects and mites. Excellent results are obtained with white oil possibly activated with a specific insecticide or acaricide, to be distributed on the bark.
To favor the lignification of the tissues, to fight the spores of the pathogens and to prevent the creeping cancers it is useful to carry out one or two treatments with a persistent cupric (the first immediately after pruning).
To avoid damage and increase effectiveness it is important to work at a distance from the rains. The best period is in the first days of December, checking that the temperature does not fall below 8 ° C for at least three days after the treatment. At least 20 days pass between copper and white oil.
The orchard in December: Other processing
Winter is a quiet time. For this we can dedicate ourselves to the maintenance of our equipment and to the reorganization of materials. Important is for example to check the sharpening of the tools we use for pruning: saws, chainsaws, shears. If necessary, we remedy and lubricate abundantly. We also check the packaging of pesticides: we eliminate the compromised products or which lack labels or packaging.
Outdoors, especially in the South, it is possible, if we have not done so before, to fertilize citrus fruits and olives.
In the North and in inland areas, in case of heavy snowfall, it is good to carefully monitor the trees: we intervene if there is a danger of breaking the branches. We also check the stability of recently inserted tree guardians.