Growing fruit trees in Tennessee requires regular maintenance throughout the year. Fruit is ready for harvest as early as June for peach and plums and October for apples. To care for fruit trees in Tennessee, prune during the dormant stage and apply fertilizer on a regular basis.
Remove all grass and weeds in a circle at least 4 feet in diameter around the tree. If planting a new tree, do this prior to planting.
Prune the tops of fruit trees with a bypass pruner after they have been planted to encourage a strong leader to provide side branches. Cut and remove any side branches from newly planted trees down to ¼ inch. Cut at an angle.
Prune heavily only when the tree is in a dormant state. Remove dead or diseased shoots and branches. Thin fruit at least 6 inches apart to ensure the remaining fruit is of good quality and size.
Test the soil. A soil high in phosphorus and potassium should receive a nitrogen fertilizer. A soil low in phosphorus and potassium should receive a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10.
Fertilize your fruit trees at least 10 inches away from the trunk on the soil surface. Fertilize one month prior to new growth in the spring.
Spray pesticides as a preventive measure, and when moths, aphids and mites are present. Never spray fruit trees while they are in bloom, unless they are infected with fire blight, a fatal bacteria that gives flowers and stems a burnt appearance. Read pesticide labels carefully and use according to label directions for your fruit tree.
Paint the trunk of the tree with white latex paint to reduce winter injury. Paint the lower 24 inches of the trunk.