How to grow fruit trees
Fruit trees provide beauty, aromacy and a source for healthy eating
As a child, I always had an affinity to fresh-off-the vine fruit of all kinds. My grandparents lived a healthy lifestyle and grew their own vegetables and fruits from their garden. They were the ultimate do-it-yourselfer's and found many creative ways and tools to help them in pursuit of healthy living.
They would let us kids pick the fresh, low-hanging fruit from the apple, plum, peach and fig trees that we had, and we often had these treats as snacks or desert after dinner. It was especially fun to watch (and help) her make pies, jellies and jams from the fresh fruit that we picked, and we had even more fun helping her to clean it up!
We also helped grandma in the garden when she did the other work too, the maintenance work, to get things ready to be picked. Her fruit trees were especially robust, and from her I learned a lot on how to grow fruit trees that were healthy, prolific and eye-appealing. Having fruit trees on your property is visually appealing, aromatic and can be a source of healthy living for your family.
To learn how to grow fruit trees simply requires planning, maintenance and lots of patience. Although they are simply beautiful and make an awesome landscape, fruit trees require meticulous conditions for growth and usually take several years to produce fruit:
- Plum trees – 4 to 6 years
- Apple trees – 4-10 years
- Peach trees – 2 to 4 years
To have a prolific and an abundance of fruit selections, you should plant more than one type of fruit tree. Fruit trees can bear fruit for up to fifty years, providing season after season of healthy eating and enjoyment. Although there are some trees that can self-pollinate, for best results, it is better to cross-pollinate by planting multiple trees. They bear fruit and produce more abundantly when they are planted in clusters.
As you prepare and learn how to grow fruit trees on your property, first conduct a soil test to determine if the soil is conducive for growing. A soil test provides valuable information on the nutrients content of your soil and helps you develop productive plans to keep your trees healthy and prolific. A soil test also helps you determine the correct kind of fertilizer and liming material that you need for your trees. Knowing this information as you begin your project can save time and frustration later if the trees happen to not produce.
Take a soil sample to a local nursery to have tested to see if it is healthy and nutrient enough to grow trees. They will either make recommendations for additional products or give you information on other ways methods of soil preparation. There are also online nurseries that you can mail soil samples to for assistance. This works well for those who live in areas where there aren’t many local nurseries available or for those who work on their trees during non-traditional hours. Online vendors can also provide additional feedback, suggestions and various other methods on how to grow fruit trees that yield positive results.
Clear the area where you will plant your fruit trees. Remove all grass, weeds, flowers, etc. and dig up the soil where the tree(s) will be situated. You can remove the weeds manually, or if you prefer, use an herbicide that will not harm the young tree. Grass should also be removed because it competes with young trees for available water and nutrients. This can significantly reduce the tree’s growth and productivity.
Prepare the area(s) where you will plant the fruit tree. Dig a hole with a depth of at least 12-18 inches, much deeper than simply where the bulb of the tree will be seated. It is important for the tree to take a firm rooting in the soil, and if it is planted too shallow, the tree may not survive or fail to yield fruit.
As you make your preferred fruit tree selections, purchase a healthy 1-year-old nursery tree from 4 to 6 feet tall that has a visibly good root system. Small trees with good root systems transport better than large trees and have a better chance of survival once they are planted.
Adequate and sufficient nutrition for your fruit trees is essential for valuable production. Be sure to fertilize and feed the soil thoroughly so that the tree gets as much nutrients as possible. In many conditions, rain will likely wash some of the nutrients away, which is why it is important to be consistent and diligent in nurturing the soil. Different fruit trees require different care, so closely follow the guide provided by the nursery from where your tree was purchased.
Weed and Pest Control
Weeds choke root systems and grass around fruit trees sap away its water supply. This is why it is important to completely eliminate and de-root any weeds that are around your planting area – within 4 square feet – and remove any grassy areas. Doing this will of course also discourage rodent and insect infiltration since there will be no vegetation for them to feed on.
As mentioned earlier, you can use herbicides to control the weeds, but be sure to follow the label’s directions and keep the chemical away from the trees root system. Chemicals saturate the soil system and can damage your young tree before it can mature. You can also control the weeds by using mulch or bark, but be sure to install rodent guards at the trees base to keep them away from the tree. Rodents burrow underneath the mulch and eat away at tree trunks and tree roots. Replace, turn and tend the mulch often to allow the soil to aerate and for water and nutrients to get to the trees roots.
Eliminate all dead and diseased wood, fallen leaves and debris away from trees. Clean and disinfect your gardening tools before and after each use. Use a 10% disinfecting solution such as a disinfecting spray or a bleach to clean the tools. A spray will not corrode tools or stain clothing, so you can use it on all applications, but bleach will so avoid using the bleach on those tools that have metal parts.
Once you have determined what trees suit you, have adequately prepared your growth area(s), and determined the trees various requirements and needs, you are well on your way to enjoying an abundance of sweet, delicious fruit. These steps can help you start a process that will grow fantastic looking, healthy fruit trees that you can enjoy for many years to come.