How to select the right fruit tree for your space?
Deciding on the right fruit tree for your garden can be overwhelming. Adding a fruit tree to your garden can be a great addition, but it also requires time, money, and effort.
This is not to scare you, but it is essential to understand that a lot needs to be decided before purchasing your fruit tree. Careful selection, proper planting, and good follow-up maintenance will ensure that your plants add value and enjoyment to your garden.
We do recommend purchasing your first fruit tree from a reputable tree nursery. Considering all the options the tree nursery farm provides, look at high-quality trees and how they deliver the fruit trees. High prices don’t mean higher quality, but stocking high-quality trees is expensive.
Obtain fruit trees that are at least one year old. A common mistake is selecting large or ready-to-bear nursery trees. Younger trees almost bear as soon as planted and are much easier to keep alive. They develop into healthier, more vigorous trees than mature oversized trees.
How to select the right site for planting your fruit tree?
Selecting the right site for planting your fruit should be considered. Fruit buds on plants set in the low spot are more likely killed than when the trees are planted on a slope. Frost pockets, low wet spots, and locations exposed to strong prevailing winds must be avoided.
South-facing slopes encourage early bud development and can sometimes result in frost damage.
Deep, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 – 7.0 and good fertility should be selected. A fertile, sandy loam or sandy clay loam is suitable for most fruit trees. Adequate drainage is the most important soil characteristic. Proper fertilization and cultural practices may improve poor soils. Improving soil with poor internal drainage is difficult and expensive.
How do you prepare the soil for planting the fruit trees?
Preparation of the soil before planting should be the first step before planting the fruit tree. Soil preparation should be done to loosen the soil through tilling. The hole dug for the fruit tree needs to be three to five times wider in diameter wider than the width of the root system. The depth of the hole should be the same as the root system.
Dig a hole in the center of the circle that is one foot larger in diameter than the roots. Ensure the soil underneath the root system is undisturbed to prevent the root from settling.
If the tree comes in a container, remove the pot and make a vertical slice up each quarter of the root ball to a depth of about 1 inch. Cut an X across the bottom of the soil ball as well. Gently loosen some of the roots.
If the tree is bare-root, prune the roots of young trees only where necessary to remove broken and damaged ones or to cut back some that are excessively long. Should a tree be so severely scarred or damaged that there is doubt about its survival, it is wise to discard it.
Plant the tree two or three inches deep into the soil line. Never set it so deep that the union of the scion and rootstock are below ground level when the hole is filled.
Backfill around the roots with the soil that was removed. Lightly pack or water the soil during this process to eliminate air pockets.
Should you fertilize fruit trees when planting?
The rule of thumb with fertilizer is that fertilizer is not applied when the tree is first planted. Once the newly planted tree has been established, apply one-quarter to one-half lb. of a 16 or 20-percent nitrate fertilizer in a circle around the tree.
Usually fruit trees show no increased growth or fruitfulness from using any nutrient element except nitrogen. The tree requires other elements, however, only in special cases are they deficient in the soil.
Deficiencies are more likely to occur on light, sandy soils.
Where good compost is applied regularly, chemical fertilizer to supplement the soil’s natural fertility may not be necessary. Over-fertilization with organic or inorganic soil should be avoided.
Excessive weed growth will result, usually accompanied by delayed fruiting.
Beginning in the year after planting, fertilizer may be applied either after the leaves have fallen or in early spring, about three to four weeks before active growth begins.
It is best to delay application on light, sandy soils until early spring. If the fruit tree is grown in a lawn area, delay fertilizing the lawn until after the trees are dormant to avoid late summer growth.
Apply one ounce of actual nitrogen at fertilization time for each tree of year age, up to 16 ounces. To calculate the amount of fertilizer to apply, divide the actual nitrogen needed by the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer.
The usual application method is to scatter fertilizer evenly under the tree, starting about two feet from the trunk and to extend to just beyond the tips of the branches.