Tips for Growing Fruit Trees

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Almost everyone can grow one variety or another of fruit

trees in their backyard. Here are some tips on growing

fruit trees:

Plant fruit trees about 20 feet apart and in a sunny


Plant more than one variety of a fruit. That means there

will be fruit more of the time and not all will mature at

the same time.

Planting more varieties also means better cross-pollination

of pears, apples, plums and cherries, which yields a more

consistent production.

Use less common planting techniques. Plant two, three or

four trees in one hole, or use espalier and hedgerows.

Small trees are much easier to spray, thin, prune, and

harvest than large trees too.

Keep fruit trees at a manageable size. Choose a height that

you can reach for thinning and harvesting while standing on

the ground or a small, safe ladder. The only way to do that

is by pruning.

Pruning is necessary to stimulate new fruiting wood, to

remove broken and diseased wood, and to remove branches to

allow good air circulation and sunlight penetration.

The shape and size of a fruit tree is established during the

first three years so pruning is most important during that


Prune fruit trees any time during January to March before

flowering begins.

Be sure fruit trees receive adequate water during the

growing season.

Keep a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around each tree to cover

the soil over the root system.

Scatter fertilizer starting one foot away from the trunk and

out far enough so that the outer edge is just outside the

outer edge of the branches known as the dripline. Lightly

scratch the fertilizer into the soil with a rake and then

water well.

Fertilize just before bloom or leaf sprout occurs, usually

in March. Use one pound of fertilizer for each one inch of

trunk diameter.

During the trees second year pinch off any flowers and allow

the tree to put all it’s energy into developing its root


For more information on growing healthy fruit trees visit:

Copyright: 2006 Marilyn Pokorney

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