Imagine waking up each morning to pluck fresh fruits right from your backyard and, most important, prepared and cultivated by you! Growing your own fruits is satisfying and a proud thing that every enthusiastic gardener should experience.
Fruits are a healthy and nutritious investment, and having several in your garden will for sure save you a lot of money on your grocery shopping each week. So, if you are at a crossroads on adding fruit plants in your backyard, the answer is yes!
However, first things first, it requires time and devoted maintenance to enjoy the harvest. All in all, it’s worth it in the end.
So what are you waiting for? Follow the tips given below to ensure successful fruit tree cultivation!
Top 10 Tips for Successful Fruit Tree Cultivation
A home orchard is a valuable investment requiring top-notch care. Failure to plant fruit trees well may inhibit their growth and cause them to die. This requires starting over again, which means more money and waiting extended periods to enjoy the harvest.
To establish a thriving fruit garden, you need to carefully plan and understand the specific needs of each tree variety. So let’s delve into the crucial practices and techniques that will help you nurture healthy and productive fruit trees.
Select the Right Location for Your Fruit Trees
Let’s face it – You cannot just drop fruit trees anywhere you think of! As an orchardist, your choice of location and soil for planting fruit trees is primarily limited. These trees thrive in fertile, well-drained, and moist soil.
Additionally, the place you plant them needs direct access to the sun. So if your backyard is less spacious, planting a tree that will take over is not a smart decision.
Ensure that the tree you choose to grow in your garden has enough space for growth. For instance, if planting a mango tree, there should be enough space to stretch its limbs to the fullest without affecting the surrounding plants.
If you are considering planting an espalier fruit tree, have a wall ready where the plant will lean on. For cordon types of trees, they reduce the tree to a single main trunk without long horizontal branches so you can plant them close together.
Plant the Fruits Just In Time
Timing for your fruits is quite essential to take note of. Planting some fruits too close to the winter might kill them even before they establish themselves.
Other plants won’t be able to soak up enough water before summer begins hindering their growth and development.
Understand the instructions given by your seller to determine which fruit tree to plant and at what time.
Plant the Tree at the Correct Depth
Once you identify the fruit tree and where you want it planted, it’s time for the main job – Planting. Here apply the notion of ‘ not too deep and not too shallow,’ which means plating the tree at just the proper depth.
When buying the tree fruit, it’s usually containerized. Ensure it is visible a few inches above the soil in the pot.
So, the hole should be deep enough so that the roots spread out. If the roots are too big, trim them out to prevent them from bending in the soil.
Then ensure the graft is 2 to 3 inches above the ground level once the hole is covered with soil. Your hole should be 2 to 3 times wider than the container.
It is also important to refill the hole with topsoil, compost, or manure before planting the fruits for better growth.
Ensure Proper Soil Compaction
Soil has tiny air pockets necessary for the plant’s roots to breathe. When you leave big voids around the roots, they may cause them to dry out and be unable to absorb water and nutrients.
Upon planting the fruit tree, tamp the soil around it firmly. Backfill the hole and tuck the soil around all of the roots. This will prevent the voids from forming that may tamper with the plant’s growth.
Provide Structural Support for Your Fruit Tree
Your fruit tree is still weak after planting it. Therefore, you need to provide structural support to it until the roots are fully established. Otherwise, it might fall over due to instability.
Stake the fruit tree well so the winds do not damage it until the roots anchor well on the ground. Also, ensure the trunk is thicker before getting the fruit tree off support to avoid breakage.
Use pointed stakes for this job and avoid pressure-treated wood since you only need the support for a year or so.
The number of stakes for each plant varies: For a small fruit tree, one is enough. However, if your area is susceptible to wind, two stakes opposite each other should get the job done right!
Prune Your Fruit Tree
After planting the fruit tree, you will need to prune it often, especially on the tip, to allow for growth. Pruning helps shape the tree and reduces moisture stress which occurs when fine roots are lost when digging and transplanting.
By pruning the tip, you activate the hormonal action so the tree grows more roots and produces axillary buds and shoots. It is also a great way to balance the top side of the fruit tree with the number of roots it has to supply the growing shoots with water and nutrients.
If dealing with an unbranched whip, trim it back by 1/3 to ½ of its height above the graft. For branched trees, go with one or more limbs while ensuring great spacing of about 10 inches apart from the trunk. Then cut back the remaining limbs by half.
You can prune the leader branch but not as often as the side branches. Once you are at par with pruning during the first year, you won’t have to do it as often during the second year of the fruit tree growth.
Water the Fruit Tree Often
Successful cultivation of fruit trees requires regular and consistent watering. You have to ensure that the plant adapts to its surroundings, survive harsh weather conditions, and produces blossoms that will then bear fruit.
As the fruit tree starts to establish itself, water is a crucial element in the process. You must ensure that the roots do not dry out because once they do, that’s it for your precious potential fruits.
Pay special attention to plants from the beginning. Don’t just water them, do it thoroughly, consistently, and long enough for guaranteed growth.
If your area receives frequent rains, good for you! However, rain may not supply enough water to a newly planted plant, so you need to fill in this gap. In areas with little to no rainfall, you can create a drip irrigation system where you’ve planted the fruit trees so that they have a consistent water supply.
As a rule, apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week! Then water it for 2 to 3 days for the next three months. From there, water the plant during dry spells until the tree is well-established.
Mulching is Important
Your newly planted fruit tree needs to be mulched for it to thrive. However, if not done right, you might mess things around.
Create a good mulch ring around the new tree to reduce the competition of growing weeds for moisture and air. This also helps distribute water evenly into the plant, keeping weed eaters away from the trunk of your new tree.
You can come up with a proper donut mulch around the tree. It should be about three feet from the tree’s base.
Also, ensure that the mulch does not touch the tree’s trunk; otherwise, this can encourage rotting. The mulch should be about two inches from the trunk and 2 to 4 inches thick.
The Fruit Tree Needs Pollination
As you plant your fruit trees, keep in mind that they need to bring in birds, bees, and other pollinators for them to grow well. So you might want to plant several fruit trees in your space that self-pollinate.
There are just a few options for this, and they include peaches, nectarines, and citrus trees. If you want to grow fruits such as apples, pears, and plums, you need one or more plants for them to bear fruits.
To ensure your garden is pollinator-friendly, do away with elements that can cause harm to the pollinating plants, such as toxic pesticides. Then, include plants that bloom yearly to attract pollinators in your orchid.
Watch Out for Plant Problems
Fruit trees are susceptible to various problems in the course of their growth. Be on the lookout for insects and diseases that might attack them. Then act promptly to identify the threat and treat anything causing trouble in the orchid.
Cultivating fruit trees in your backyard can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Set yourself up for success in your fruit tree investment in the next few months or years by following the tips above.
Remember that dedication and proper care are pertinent to a thriving little orchid which not only saves you money but also gives you the pleasure of enjoying your own homegrown fruits!
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