Growing fruit trees isn’t difficult and is incredibly rewarding. Horticulturist Noelle Johnson has all the information you need to get started.
Choose the Right Tree
In late winter into early spring, you can find bare root fruit trees in your local nursery. Whether you choose a apple, apricot, peach or plum tree, make sure to select a variety that does well in your area. You can check your local cooperative extension office for the varieties that do best where you live.
Many fruit trees are self-pollinating, such as apricot and peach and some plum trees, which means that they fertilize themselves. However, apple trees do not. They need another variety of apple tree planted close by so that they can pollinate each other. Check with your local nursery professional to see if you need more then one tree.
How to Plant It
Plant your new fruit trees in an area that receives approximately 6 – 8 hours of sun a day. Dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball to help roots to grow easily. The depth of the hole should be as deep, but no deeper then the root ball. Do not fertilize your newly planted fruit tree until it has been in the ground for one year.
When to Prune It
Shutterstock / Fotokostic
Fruit trees need an open shape so that they receive enough sunlight. Pruning tools include loppers, pruning saw and hand pruners. A pole saw can be used for taller branches.
It’s hard to believe that there are any gardening tasks to do in late winter, but that is the time to prune your fruit trees—before they begin to start new growth.
Shutterstock / ueuaphoto
When pruning, concentrate on removing any crossing, dead or diseased branches while concentrating on creating an open ‘bowl-shaped’ tree. For more detailed information on how to prune fruit trees, check out this link.
In early spring and again in late spring, fertilize your established fruit trees with an all-purpose fertilizer such as a 10-10-10, which contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Get the Best Fruit
Shutterstock / Princess_Anmitsu
Once small, green fruit begins to appear, you need to “thin” out some of your fruit. Thinning fruit means removing some of the small, unripened fruit so that there is approximately 4 – 6″ inches between each fruit. This ensures larger and high-quality fruit later because fruit trees only have so many resources in which to dedicate to growing fruit.
Before you know it, you will soon be picking ripe fruit from your own tree.
Shutterstock / Daria Chichkareva
And, if you are lucky….you may have some left to share with your family and friends!
How about you? What type of fruit tree would you like to grow?