How to Clean Up Messy Fruit Trees

Overview

Fruit trees are prized for their ornamental beauty, edible fruit, or both. Unfortunately, with most fruit trees, that beauty comes with a price -- the mess the trees make. Below the fragrant, flowering canopy of branches of fruit trees lies the remains of fruit, seeds and blossoms, many of which are sticky or stain the ground. Cover that mess with a layer of dropped fall leaves and you have yourself quite a cleanup project. Fortunately, it's not difficult to eliminate the mess.

Step 1

Sweep as often as possible. While some home gardeners prefer to wait until all the blooms are off the tree, this can make cleaning up more difficult because the sometimes sticky flower petals adhere to the ground, especially on pavement. Begin cleaning in the spring, and do it at least once a week when the flowers are falling and then throughout the summer and fall as needed.

Step 2

Rinse and repeat. After you have swept, you will probably notice flowers, leaves or fruit residue stuck to the sidewalk or pavement. Turn a powerful stream of water on them. If that doesn't work, get down on your hands and knees and scrub them up with a stiff brush. Once you've loosened the flowers, fruit or leaves from the pavement, rinse again.

Step 3

Harvest the fruit as soon as it is ripe. This will prevent the fruit from dropping and staining the ground. If the fruit is not edible for humans, it might be for birds. In that case, attach a bird feeder to the tree to attract birds to it, and cross your fingers that they will eat the fruit before it can all splatter on your yard. In the fall, pick any shriveled-up or moldy fruit off the tree. If you leave it there, it may fall later in the winter, releasing millions of spores to infest other plants.

Step 4

Buy a mulching lawn mower. Instead of raking, you will be able to mulch the leaves, flowers and even soft fruit into the ground. This will have the added benefit of supplying nutrients to the tree and preparing it for the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Rake
  • Trash bag (optional)
  • Hose or pressure sprayer
  • Stiff-bristle scrub brush
  • Mulching lawn mower

References

  • North Dakota State University: Fall Care and Clean-up of the Garden and Landscape
  • Trib Total Media: Orchard Cleanup
  • The Seattle Times: Prepare a Fruit Tree for Winter

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden
Keywords: how to clean up, messy fruit trees, prepare for winter

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.