- Take advantage of plants' natural defenses. Only plant varieties that are well adapted to the soil, sunlight and moisture conditions of your yard's microclimates.
- Manage water and soil fertility appropriately for your specific plants.
- Remove and dispose of diseased plant parts. When pruning, disinfect clippers after cutting diseased plants.
- Rotate edible crops every year to avoid soil-borne diseases.
- Use drip or soaker irrigation and avoid overhead watering except in morning.
- Use less-toxic sulfur, bicarbonate or neem oil fungicide for controlling several plant diseases, if necessary. Use neem oil with caution, as it is harmful to wildlife and pets. Be sure to diagnose the problem accurately and only use a product registered for the problem and plant you have.
Rake up the fruit
Fallen fruit rots on the ground and harbors pests and plant diseases that overwinter and could wreak havoc on your harvest next year. From cherries to plums to apples, pears and figs, raking up what you can't eat – weekly if possible, and at the end of the season – helps keep your yard healthy.
Put it in your yard waste bin
Put fallen fruit in your yard waste collection bin to prevent being pestered by problems next year. Unless you're an expert "hot" composter, it's best to keep fruit out of backyard compost bins where pests can live large until next spring.
Better yet, donate your harvest to a gleaning group in your area – they may be able to come pick the fruit for local hunger relief.