Fruit tree quickies

We bought a property that has some fruit trees. A couple of peaches, a nectarine, an apple, a couple of apricots, and a couple of almonds.
The trees were neglected. One that was near a spigot that was slightly leaking had gotten regular watering from the seepage, and we got five of the fruit boxes FULL of baseball sized peaches. The best I ever tasted. We got just a few nectarines. Lots of good apricots, and a quart or two of almonds.
The apple tree was full of apples one week, hundreds. The next week, it was stripped except some at the top. No people tracks. No animal tracks, and no half eaten cores on the ground. It was as if aliens came down in a space ship and sucked them up. We were traveling at the time. At the time of disappearance, they were hard and not ripe.
My questions are:
Give me some pointers on watering, fertilizing, and care to get a good crop this year. I am good at pruning, and these need some pruning, but not a lot.
Tell me the difference between winter watering schedules, spring, and summer. Is it good to make a moat and fill it, or slow water? We have PVC system. Winter, how often to water? Spring and summer, same question.
When to fertilize and with what? Tilled in? Spread around the drip line and watered in? Around the drip line and raked in? Put in the moat and let dissolve?
I know I can get all these answers from books, and from Google. It's just that I don't like to sift through that much information, and like the direct quick answers here.
Thanks in advance.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Sounds like you found some nice trees. One problem is that you probably don't know what varieties you have, but it should not prevent you from enjoying the fruit.

Not sure where you are located, but probably your trees are dropping their leaves and going into dormancy.

Fruit trees are not all that different from other types of deciduous trees, in this respect. I would give them a good watering before the ground freezes. The idea is to keep the trees evenly watered. This may require watering more often in the hot weather. Layers of mulch at the tree bases will hold down the evaporation to some extent. You can check the trees periodically by carefully digging down near their bases to check if the ground is dry, or not.

You want to water heavily, but not too frequently. This encourages good root development. You can put an earthen ring around the tree to hold in the water during irrigation so that the water does not run off before it can be absorbed by the trees.

Once the ground freezes, no need to water.

Answered above.

I like to use a slow release fertilizer, like composted cow manure. I give the bases of the trees a coating just before winter, so they are ready to jump off the next spring. I also cover the area (inside the drip line) with composted mulch. You can rake these two materials into the top few inches inside the drip line. Be careful not to damage any roots, as some fruit trees (like dwarfs) tend to have a shallow root system.

The thing you didn't mention was pest control. That's more complicated. Start thinking of giving them a spray of dormant oil just before spring. If the fruit you picked was not attacked by insects, you don't need an agressive spray schedule. Pruning is also complex, but you should do that while the trees are dormant, or you will just encourage more growth. Cut out ingrowing and crossing branches, for starters.
Hope this helps,
Sherwin

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You got someone in there who picked them. There's sites like the following:
http://www.urbanedibles.org
where people track neglected fruit trees. The former property owners almost certainly didn't pick the trees either, as a result some years back the trees started dropping fruit.
I will tell you this - think what you will of me - but I am very much a supporter of people going out there and picking fruit off trees on private property if there is dropped fruit under the tree - with or without permission. Particularly in urban areas.
Dropped fruit on the ground is a magnet for rats, and will support quite a lot of them. Until you have had to fight the beasts chewing holes in your basement, foundations, and God knows where else, you will not appreciate how incredibly irresponsible it is for people in an urban area to leave food sources available of that magnitude. It is bad enough for people to use crappy-designed bird feeders that allow birds to dump seed all over the place, but at least, birdseed isn't going to support 10-20 rats. Dropped fruit, by contrast, definitely will. And, when the fruit season is finally over, the rats will move into the homes of every house in the vicinity - yours and your neighbors, and it can take up to a year to trap them out - and trapping ultimately will hit the law of diminishing returns, and then you have to resort to poison.
There's nothing like one of your neighbors having to fish a stinky dead rat corpse out of their wall to get your neglected fruit trees girdled.

What tends to happen with these trees over the years is that the longer they are neglected, as word gets around, people show up earlier and earlier in the season to get the jump on other pickers. Your not going to stop it unless you start posting Do Not Pick signs, and keep a close eye on the trees. You probably will have to confront a few people during the season as well. And be prepared for them to complain that the former owners let them pick the fruit - very likely, the former owners were well aware that this was happening and were welcoming it - because they didn't then have to go to the bother of picking the trees themselves.

Contact your local county extension office or state land grant university extension office, they have people who are paid to answer these kinds of question tailored for your trees and location.
Ted
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rats, mice, opossums, raccoons, quite a few vermin.
and that is not even including the dropped fruit is breeding ground for all the pests that destroy the fruit and the trees in the area. we moved in with two neglected huge "shade" apple trees on either side of us. I didnt even bother thinking about getting some dwarf apples as I would be spraying them constantly. At least the new people on each side make some attempt to pick up the rotting stinking fruit. one side finally cut it to the ground, the other has so butchered their tree I am sure it will die soon, at least it is unlikely to fruit at all for a while. Ingrid
wrote:

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Good grief, man. You prattle on and on endlessly about the rights of people to trespass, and then don't even answer the original questions. You're something.
Steve
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Think what you will of me. I go out there with my shotgun and explain briefly about the dangers of trespassing on my property as I escort them off at gunpoint.
Steve
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Uh, I believe this is known as theft and if the value of the fruit is high enough; it could be a felony. Not to mention trespassing.......
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

Fruit on the ground is not necessarily indicative of neglect of the trees. I like to keep my fruit on the trees as long as possible to maximize the sugar transfer to the fruit. I even put ziplock bags on my fruit, so that the critters will have a hard time munching on it whenever it falls.

Fruit will drop for many reasons, including too many fruits on the tree. It is commonly known as June drop. Almost all fruit will eventually drop from the
trees, if left on.

Stay away from my yard, or you may get an unpleasant surprise.

So you are justifying tresspassing on private property to invoke your brand of justice. We don't need no stinkin vigilantees patrolling our orchards.

I think a call to the police would be in order.

Well, that's a big help. Why did he bother to post the question on a gardening forum, just to get sluffed off.
Sherwin

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but each different fruit needs different cultural conditions and combine that with where you are located you are expecting a great deal from someone to basically sit down and DO your search for you and write it all up. few people have that information on the top of their heads and/or the time to write it all down for you.
look around for an orchard group in your area, and talking on the phone is much easier than writing all that out.

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