Whether you have a small backyard and only room for one tree, or you have access to space for a whole orchard, growing fruit trees can give you a lot of pleasure. As well as growing into attractive trees they will also bare plenty of fruit that you can eat, preserve, bake with or even sell if you have it in large quantities.
There are a few things to remember when growing fruit trees, as well as knowing how to look after them. It is also important to protect them from pests, such as diseases and birds. To prevent the fruit being consumed by pesky little birds, you should cover your trees with protective bird netting.
Care Before Planting
Make sure that you take care of the trees before they are planted. When they are delivered ensure that they are handled carefully and that no branches are snapped off. Before planting put them in a position where they receive full sun for at least half a day, and put them somewhere out of the wind. Also make sure you give them plenty of water.
Putting in an orchard takes careful planning, and this should be started at least six months before you put your plants in. For a few plants, or a single tree, you don’t need quite as much preparation but you will need to get your soil ready. If you are planting an orchard then you will need to fence the area off beforehand.
It is also a good idea to spray the area for weeds. If the soil is poor deep ripping is advised as it will improve drainage. Also make sure the area will not be subject to erosion. To improve the organic content of the soil fertilize it well.
This should be done a month before planting. Having windbreaks are also important for an orchard, and these should be planted well in advance, along the west and east sides.
The trees can be planted during most times of the year. Make sure that the soil is well drained and that the plants are well watered before planting to moisten the roots, otherwise the roots may get damaged. The site itself should also be well watered the day before planting. The hole should be twice the width of the pot and the same depth as the pot itself.
Make sure that the roots are not planted in too deep as the tree will suffer, and press the soil down firmly around the plant. Water the plant, giving it at least twenty liters of water.
Once the tree is in it will need to be fertilized. A slow releasing fertilizer will help give young plants a good start. The trees are better if they are not staked but sometimes they will need it.
If this is the case two stakes positioned on either side are better, with the tree tied to them with old pantyhose or another soft material. Putting mulch around the base will help stop the weeds and grow bags are good for young trees as they protect them from wildlife and the cold during winter.
Plants need to be cared for continually to ensure good annual crops. It is important to keep on top of weeds and fertilize regularly. Organic mulch is good to keep trees healthy and setting up a sprinkler system can be a good idea. Trees also need to be pruned so they produce a good fruit crop.