Growing Your Own Fruit Trees:
Growing your own fruit trees can be a great source of pleasure. The fresh fruit produced from your own trees will have a more intense flavor than your average supermarket fruit. Fruit trees usually takes a few years before reaching their full potential, so be patient. Once mature, the trees will produce more than enough for fresh eating and sharing and even for preserving for the winter. To grow fruit trees successfully you need to follow a few rules.
1.Select the Right Trees to Grow:Select varieties that are suitable for your area. If the fruit tree you select bloom too early, frost could take out the flowers before they get a chance to be pollinated, and therefore you won't have any fruit. Furthermore when the weather is still cold, there might not be any pollinators (such as bees) around to pollinate your flowers. On the other hand, if the variety you select blooms too late, there won’t be enough time to for the fruit to reach maturity. The best way to select the right kind of trees to grow is to talk to people who grow fruit trees in your area. Your county’s extension agents and home orchard clubs are good resources. Your local independent garden center can also be a valuable resource.
2. Select the dwarf or semi-dwarf trees whenever possible:For space saving and easy care, select dwarf stocks. They are easier to take care of when it comes to pruning, spraying and harvesting. Frequently dwarf fruit trees are produced by grafting a regular fruit tree branch to a dwarfing rootstock. You can find many of your favorite fruit in dwarf form, such as apples, pears, plums and peaches. Cherry trees are generally not available in dwarf form. Prune your cherry trees strategically so you can aid the harvest and encourage new growth for the next season.
3. Select a suitable place:Sunny location is ideal. The sun is necessary to produce sugar in the fruit, so the more sun exposure the sweeter the fruit. Make sure to leave enough room for each tree. Take into considerations of the size of a matured tree. It is very difficult to move an established tree. And then be patient, fruit trees can take up to 5 years to reach full production.
Planting fruit trees:Plant trees in well drained soil. Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball, add some compost and a slow-release fertilizer at the base where the trees are planted. Water well after planting. This will give the young trees a good start. Since young trees do not have an extensive root system, you need to keep the trees watered until they establish themselves.
4. Taking care your fruit trees:Most fruit trees require some degree of scheduled maintenance. Learn how to do it by practicing. You will inevitably make mistakes, but learn from your mistakes and carry on. The good news is fruit trees are very forgiving. The most important maintenance for fruit trees are:
Dormant spray: As the name indicates, this is done while the trees are still in its dormant stage and before the buds begin to swell. The purpose of the spray covers up the spores and fungus sitting on the tree through the winter so they don’t get a chance to harm the trees once the leaves start to come out. There are two types of spray that are commonly used for home growers. Dormant Oil Spray and Lime-Sulfur Spray. Both are available in your local garden centers. Use one or the other, DO NOT use both simultaneously. If you feel you need to use both, wait at least a week after applying the first spray then apply the other one.
Thinning: In order to produce decent sized quality fruits, thinning is necessary. Thin fruit by picking the smallest fruit off of the tree and allowing the rest to reach maturity. Do not leave too many fruit on each branch, as this will reduced the quality of the fruit and could affect next year’s crop by over producing and deplete the energy from the trees.
Insect and Disease Control: It is important to be vigilant for home gardeners to spot any emerging insect and disease problem at the beginning. Take immediate measure once problem appear. Dormet spray is important for disease control.
Pruning: Pruning is essential to shape your trees into ideal fruit producing machines. When done right, pruning not only gives you a more shapely tree, it also help direct the energy to the right places where it will produce the best fruit and highest yield. Prune in a way which you encourage more spur (the short stubby growth that bears fruit) growth, as these are the fruit bearing growth. It takes practice to get it right, the good news is trees are very forgiving. So go at it, don't be afraid of making mistakes. After all, that's the how we learn our ways around.
A Pruning Joke:When is the best time to prune your fruit trees?
The technical answer: At the end of the winter when the trees are still dormant.
The smart answer: When your spouse is not home.