So you find yourself in the middle of the worst drought within living memory and your garden occupants are starting to sag, flag and wilt. Which plants should be watered first and which plants should receive the main quantities of the irrigation? You begin to feel like the leader of a third world country trying to spread your counties meagre budget across healthcare, military and education. Never fear, let me dampen your worries with some drought advice.
Fruit trees bear at different times of the year. For example, there are apples for early season, mid-season, and late season (well into fall), so it is wise to select trees for the season you want. Just how long it will be before trees will bear is another consideration; apples and pears bear in 4 to 6 years; plums, cherries, and peaches bear in about 4 years.
Besides considering bearing season and length of bearing, you should also think of size. In addition to standard-sized fruit trees there are dwarf varieties that grow only a few feet. There are also different kinds of apples, peaches, or cherries; your local nursery will tell you about these. Your nursery also stocks the type of trees that do best in your area, so ask for advice. Your trees must be hardy enough to stand the coldest winter and the hottest summer in your vicinity.
Many varieties of fruit trees are self-sterile, which means that they will not set a crop unless other blossoming trees are nearby to furnish pollen. Some fruit trees are self-pollinating or fruiting and need no other tree. When you buy your fruit trees, ask about this. Fruit trees are beautiful just as decoration, but you also want fruits to eat.
Buy from local nurseries if possible, and look for 1- or 2-yearold trees. Stone fruits are usually 1 year old and apples and pears are generally about 2 years old at purchase time. Select stocky and branching trees rather than spindly and compact ones because espaliering requires a well-balanced tree.
Whether you buy from a local nursery or from a mail-order source (and this is fine too), try to get the trees into the ground as quickly as possible. Leaving a young fruit tree lying around in hot sun can kill it. If for some reason you must delay the planting time, heel in the tree. This is temporary planting: dig a shallow trench wide enough to receive the roots, set the plants on their sides, cover the roots with soil, and water them. Try to keep new trees out of blazing sun and high winds.
Prepare the ground for the fruit trees with great care. Do not just dig a hole and put the tree in. Fruit trees do require some extra attention to get them going. Work the soil a few weeks before planting. Turn it over and poke it. You want a friable workable soil with air in it, a porous soil. Dry sandy soil and hard clay soil simply will not do for fruit trees, so add organic matter to existing soil. This organic matter can be compost (bought in tidy sacks) or other humus.
Plant trees about 10 to 15 feet apart in fall or spring when the land is warm. Then hope for good spring showers and sun to get the plants going. Dig deep holes for new fruit trees, deep enough to let you set the plant in place as deep as it stood in the nursery. (Make sure you are planting trees in areas that get sun.) Make the diameter of the hole wide enough to hold the roots without crowding. When you dig the hole, put the surface soil to one side and the subsoil on the other so that the richer top soil can be put back directly on the roots when you fill in the hole. Pack the soil in place firmly but not tightly. Water plants thoroughly but do not feed. Instead, give the tree an application of vitamin B12 (available at nurseries) to help it recover from transplanting.
Place the trunk of the fruit tree about 12 to 18 inches from the base of the trellis; you need some soil space between the tree and the wood. Trellises may be against a fence or dividers or on a wall. Young trees need just a sparse pruning. Tie branches to the trellis with tie-ons or nylon string, not too tightly but firmly enough to keep the branch flat against the wood. As the tree grows, do more trimming and tying to establish the espalier pattern you want.
To attach the trellis to a wall use wire or some of the many gadgets available at nurseries specifically for this purpose. For a masonry wall, rawl plugs may be placed in the mortared joints, and screw eyes inserted. You will need a carbide drill to make holes in masonry.
Caring for fruit trees is not difficult. Like all plants, fruit trees need a good soil (already prepared), water, sun, and some protection against insects. When trees are actively growing, start feeding with fruit tree fertilizer (available at nurseries). Use a weak solution; it is always best to give too little rather than too much because excess fertilizer can harm trees.
Observe trees frequently when they are first in the ground because this is the time when trouble, if it starts, will start. If you see leaves that are yellow or wilted, something is awry. Yellow leaves indicate that the soil may not contain enough nutrients. The soil could lack iron, so add some iron chelate to it. Wilted leaves could mean that water is not reaching the roots or insects are at work.
When growing a fruit tree, choosing the right place to plant it is very important. One thing that you have to consider is its proximity to a building, electric line, side walk, or any other thing that might disrupt its growing. Once you have planted a fruit tree, the chances of unearthing it and changing its spot without killing it are very slim. Therefore you must always be sure you know which size fruit tree you have (dwarf, semi dwarf, or standard) and how big it will end up being once it is an adult. Dwarf trees need an area with an eight-foot diameter to grow. Semi-dwarf fruit trees can grow up to fifteen feet wide. Standard fruit trees can grow as wide as thirty feet. To keep the size of your fruit tree(s) at whatever level is best for you, be sure to prune them at least once a year.
Another thing that you have to consider when planting a fruit tree it whether or not it is getting all of the sunlight it needs to survive. You also have to be sure it doesn’t get too much sunlight. If your tree doesn’t get just the right amount of sun, it will die. Be sure that you do not plant it where the sunlight will be blocked by something. Also be sure that it isn’t being constantly hit be the sun at every moment of the day. Either of these can be fatal to the tree.
An important thing to keep in mind when choosing a spot for your tree is whether your spot will be convenient for watering, harvesting, and pruning. A place that would not be good to plant a fruit tree is close to your house or your fence. Any of these things could get in the way of you harvesting and pruning. If your tree grows over your fence the fruit could drop into your neighbor’s yard, which might seem like a nice thing but would probably offend some people. You should also be sure to plant your tree where it will be easy to water; if you already have a sprinkler system in your yard you could put your tree where the sprinkler could reach it. If you do not have a sprinkler system installed, you should put the tree within reach of your hose.
One of the most important things of all to keep in mind when planting a fruit tree is whether or not your soil in your yard is suitable for your tree. You have to make sure that is has enough nutrients, it has enough moisture, there is proper water drainage so your tree doesn’t drown, and it is the right texture. If your soil doesn’t have these traits then your tree won’t grow very well or produce good fruit. You can always alter your soil to be more suitable for your tree. One way that you can find out what kind of soil you have is by taking a sample of it and taking it to a lab. It may be expensive, but they can test it for what nutrients it has the most of. You’ll have the results back in a couple of days. If your soil is low in nutrients, you can go to your local nursery, or any other store with gardening supplies, and get fertilizer according to what your soil is most lacking in.
After you have checked on all of these things, you are finally ready to go choose what kind of fruit tree you want and get ready to plant it. When you are choosing your tree keep in mind the spot you picked, and buy the tree that would do best in that spot. The worst thing that can possibly happen is devoting time and money to growing a tree, only to end up having to remove it because of poor planning.
Having your own vegetable patch or fruit garden was once commonplace, but fell out of favor as the food industry become more commercial and supermarkets began to take over. In recent years however, more and more people have started explore growing their own produce again. Here we give 5 reasons why you might consider starting your own kitchen garden.
Tropical Paradise. We often see commercials of Tropical Vacations and dream of better days sitting under the sun with a drink in our hands. What is it about the tropics we so enduring? What lures us to these places? In colder climates during the winter months plants have acclimated to the climate. They can take freezing temperatures and months of snow and ice. However tropical plants are not capable of surviving these climates. But we still long for that Tropical fruit we buy in the store for outrageous prices. What if we could go over to a tropical tree, select a ripe fruit and eat it right then and there, while outside a blizzard is taking place? Our own tropical paradise, right inside out own home. Many tropical plants will grow with the right care and conditions in areas that normally would not permit them. These same plants that grow in abundance in Asia, South America, Africa, can grow right in your own living room, ready to pluck the ripe, sweet fruit grown specifically by you.