How to Grow Fruit Trees in My Yard

Overview

Fruit trees are remarkably hardy. Stone fruits, such as peaches, require a period of "winter chill" to set fruit, so if your region is in a northern state that receives heavy frost or even snow, you can succeed at growing many fruit trees. Tropical fruits such as papayas and mangos will die when temperatures drop below freezing, but wherever you live in the continental United States, you will be able to grow apples, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and more.

Step 1

Plant your trees in an area that has good drainage and full sun. Allow plenty of room for your tree (or trees) when it grows large---do not plant your tree too close to your house, fences, outbuilding or other large plants and trees. Plan ahead so you avoid planting your fruit tree where it might shade other sun-loving plants when it grows tall. The best time to plant fruit trees is late winter to early spring.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole twice as large as the root system of your tree. Then combine a 1-gallon bucketful of compost for every 3 or 4 gallons of soil. Backfill your hole with about 4 inches of your soil/compost mixture and then set your unpotted fruit tree into the hole. Fill the hole with soil/compost, making sure not to bury the trunk or the graft area. Step on the soil around your tree lightly to pack it slightly and give the young tree good support.

Step 3

Drive a wooden stake into the ground about 1 foot from your tree and then secure the trunk with nursery tape or tree ties.

Step 4

Fertilize most fruit trees three times a year with a plant food having an N-P-K ratio of 15-5-10. Give your tree its first feeding the January after you plant it, and then repeat your application in February and March. Never fertilize after midsummer because the nitrogen in your fertilizer can cause rapid new growth that can be damaged by the first fall frost.

Step 5

Prune fruit trees in winter when they are dormant. Research your tree to learn the best methods for pruning to keep it well-shaped and to promote the maximum amount of fruit production.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Nursery tape or tree ties
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears or saw

References

  • Bainbridge, Georgia: Gardening & Ag Home

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: USDA Plant Hardiness and Gardening Zones
  • University of Florida: New Plants for Florida: Stone Fruit
  • Tree-Tie.com: Plant Protection
Keywords: fruit trees, growing food, peaches plums

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.