Applying a winter wash

How to winter wash trees

Winter washing trees helps to control pests and diseases – we show you how to do it.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do To do in December

Before fruit trees show any sign of spring growth, it’s a good idea to give them a winter wash.

This involves spraying your trees with a winter wash that contains a mixture of plant oils, diluted with water – you’ll find the concentrated solution in garden centres.

Spraying in this way will help control pests and diseases by knocking out overwintering eggs, removing debris and reducing fungal spores. 

Winter washes are especially useful at controlling aphids and woolly aphids on fruit trees like apples, cherries and plums.

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Discover how to winter wash trees, below. 

Winter washes are especially useful at controlling aphids and woolly aphids.

You will need

  • Winter tree wash
  • Measuring jug
  • Pressure sprayer
  • Soft brush

Total time:

Step 1

Read the directions for use to get the measurement for the concentrate right, and pour it into the sprayer.


Step 2

Add the right amount of water to dilute the concentrate and shake to mix it well. Wipe up any drips from the outside of the sprayer. Prepare to spray on a dry, still day. 


Step 3

Spray the wash into all the bark crevices around buds and the joints of branches. If necessary, use a soft brush.



Safety first

Wear protective gloves and goggles winter washing your trees, and avoid breathing in the spray. Tar oil wash isn’t available for domestic use anymore.

Photo: Getty Images.


Plants to winter wash