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Why drive rusty nails into fruit trees: one of our grandfathers’ most useful tricks

There is a trick our grandparents relied on with confidence and is still widely used today by orchard owners. Find out below why you should hammer rusty nails into the trees in your orchard and what surprising benefits they bring to trees.

Under what conditions it is advisable to drive rusty nails in orchard trees

Those of you who have grandparents in the country may have noticed some old nails sticking out from the trunks of fruit trees. As bizarre as this trick may seem, it is still used today, with important beneficial effects for the development of trees in the orchard.

One of the most common reasons why fruit trees stop bearing fruit is a lack of iron. This is especially the case with old trees. For apple, walnut, plum and pear trees, the problem can easily be solved with rusty nails.

The iron on their surface will make up for the deficiency, but the effects are not seen immediately – usually they bring results only after a year.

Orchard owners use one or even two nails, depending on the size of the tree.

The procedure

Carefully sterilize the nails beforehand and then hammer them into the trees only halfway. This is a delicate operation that must be carried out with care to avoid the formation of wounds in the trunk of the tree, which can actually become pathways for certain diseases and pests.

The first signs of deficiency are yellowing and falling leaves. Iron deficiency generally occurs in soils rich in calcium or where limestone is applied in large quantities.

If you don’t want to drive nails into the trees in your garden, there’s another trick. All you have to do is place a rusty iron object at the root of young trees at planting to ensure that they get a source of iron from the start.

Orchard owners recommend not using iron objects too much rust, as you could end up doing more harm than good by increasing the acidity of the soil.