Avoid fruit tree pruning, except broken or dead limbs, if trees or shrubs are not fully dormant or approaching dormancy. Open wounds heal more slowly as trees are approaching dormancy, increasing the opportunity for fungal infections to occur.
If you have not yet done so, cut out old dead fruited canes from blackberries, raspberries, and related hybrids after fruiting and tie in the new canes for next year.
Cut ever-bearing raspberries and blackberries to the ground after all the fruit has been picked. New canes will grow next spring and produce fruit in the fall.
You could also cut the ever-bearing canes to just below where they fruited this fall, leaving the lower portion of the cane to fruit next summer.
If you have not yet experienced your first fall frost, as your first frost date approaches, prepare hardy plants you are growing outdoors in containers for winter.
Plant roots are generally not as cold hardy as the top of the plant, so they need to be protected from freezing during severe winter weather.
Sink containers to the rim in well drained ground, or surround containers with sawdust or other insulating material.
Another option is to plan to move dormant plants to a cool (35°- 45° F.) location during severe weather episodes (remember to take them back outside when temperatures moderate to keep them dormant until spring).
In the Pacific Northwest, the earliest varieties are often ready to start picking by mid-August. If you are not sure when you should start checking the varieties in your yard for their ripeness, review our ripening order list.
Some people like their fruit more green and tart, others more ripe and sweet. As with pears, the background color of the fruit skin away from the sun will change from green to a yellow or pale orange as seed maturity approaches.
A further test of apple ripeness is to cut the fruit open and look at the seed color, dark brown indicates the seeds are mature. October and November, with their cooler temperatures, slow down the ripening process, so fruits will tend to last longer on the tree than they did earlier in the year.
The latest ripening varieties, in October or November, will also have the best storage properties. Some varieties, such as Karmijn de Sonneville and Red Belle de Boskoop, are best after they have been stored a month or two, during which time the starches convert to sugar.
Fall is an excellent time to relocate your over-sized or struggling plant that has been in the wrong spot, or one that was planted in a temporary location last spring. Ideally your plant should be fully dormant, or nearly so.
Make sure the root system is well watered a week or so before digging it up. Get as much of the root system as you reasonably can and water well after you re-plant. If you need to move a larger tree, plan to take a little more time with the process.
Start in October or early November, when the plant is nearly dormant. Dig straight down into the ground 12-18”deep, to sever the roots, along 1/3 of the planned root ball perimeter.
Later in November dig along the next third of the perimeter. In December dig the final third along the perimeter and under the root-ball so you can lift the tree out. Carefully reset it in its new location and water in well. A little bone meal, or slow-release phosphorous source mixed with the back fill is beneficial, otherwise do not apply fertilizers.
If you did not add mycorrhizal fungi to the soil when you originally planted, adding some now will be helpful. Finish your planting by applying a ½-inch layer of compost over the surface, then 3 to 4 inches of coarse material, keeping the mulch at least 2 inches away from the trunk.