Fruit trees require special maintenance before the winter months to prevent disease and damage to the trees' vascular systems. Damaged parts of the trees, as well as old fruit, can breed fungi and harbor insects which will spread as soon as the weather warms. Watering trees during the fall prevents damage from drought. Fertilization ensures the trees get enough nutrients throughout the winter to survive. Proper winter preparation will ensure the best fruit crops come harvest time.
Water the tree in November, before the first frost of the year, several inches to ensure the roots are properly soaked. Water as far around the tree as the branches extend to get all the roots.
Remove any fruit from the tree that did not fall to prevent the spread of fungal disease.
Prune away any dead or broken branches from the tree.
Fertilize the tree in November using a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in potassium. This improves fruit growth in the spring.
Remove any weeds from around the trunk to prevent spreading of cold-season grassy weeds during the winter.
Wrap the tree trunk with wire reinforced cloth mesh to prevent attacks from animals. Bury the barrier 2 to 3 inches in the soil and cover the tree 8 to 12 inches above the projected snow line for the year.