Growing your fruit trees at home is a rewarding undertaking. Knowing the facts about fruit cultivation is essential. Proper planning requires site selection, cultural and pest management, and choosing a variety that will flourish in your climate.
Site selection will determine the success of your fruit trees before you’ve even begun. Fruit trees require full sunlight for the better part of each day. Trees that do not receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight will not produce flowers and fruit to potential. The best soil for fruit production will be well-drained, yet able to hold nutrients. Trees planted near the top of a slope tend to be less affected by frost in the colder months.
Plan to plant your fruit trees in the early part of spring. When digging the hole, keep in mind that it must be large enough to accommodate the entirety of the roots. Once you have the root system in the ground, backfill 1/2 of the soil and add water to soak the roots thoroughly. As the rest of the soil is backfilled, continue to firm the surface to ground level. Failing to fill and firm the soil to ground level will put the roots of your new fruit tree at risk for frost damage in the winter.
Pruning and training your fruit trees will not only affect the size and shape of the trees as they mature but also will affect fruit production. The first 4-5 years are crucial for defining the size and shape of your fruit trees. A tree training stake is recommended until the tree reaches maturity. Even seemingly light winds have been known to uproot new plantings.
Near the end of the first month after planting, it is recommended to apply 1 pound of 10-10-10 garden fertilizer 18-24 inches from the trunk on all sides. In each subsequent year, 1/2 lb of the 10-10-10 fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter may be applied in the early spring, not to exceed 3 lbs per tree.
The cultivation of fruit trees does require a fair amount of work to maximize the output of fruit. Even without the care needed to produce a harvest, most fruit trees are beautiful specimens and would make a lovely addition to any landscape. For more information about fruit trees suited to your area, find a professional tree expert near you.