How to Grow Fruit & Nut Trees

Overview

Fruit and nut trees can provide an ornamental element to the surroundings. Growing fruit and nut trees in your landscaping can also supply you with your own fresh crop to eat right off the tree or to use for canning, baking or cooking. Choose from fruit trees such as apple, pear, pomegranate, apricot, cherry, nectarine and peach. Grow nut trees in your home garden, including varieties like almond, chestnut, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios or walnuts. Select trees to grow that are suited for your specific region for best results.

Step 1

Select planting sites that supply the necessary room for the mature size of the tree in both width and height. Plan enough room for spacing, if planting more than one tree. Find areas providing full sun and well-draining soil.

Step 2

Obtain enough of each fruit and nut tree for proper pollination. Determine whether a tree is self-pollinating or if a second tree is required. Choose trees that will grow well in your location.

Step 3

Clear the selected area of all foliage, rocks, branches or debris. Dig a hole the same depth of the nut or fruit tree's container and at least twice as wide.

Step 4

Remove the tree from its container and loosen the roots. Place the fruit or nut tree in the hole and check to see if the height is slightly higher than it was in its container. The final height of the planted fruit tree, after settling, must be the same as it was in the container, with the graft union at least 4 inches above ground level.

Step 5

Fill the area around the tree's root system with the removed soil a little past halfway. Fill the hole with water to compact the soil and settle the tree. Finish filling the hole, and soak with water again.

Step 6

Use the leftover dirt from the hole to form a wall 3 or more inches tall and wide; this creates a basin at the base of each tree for watering the fruit and nut trees. Make sure the watering ring is larger than the planting hole.

Step 7

Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the area surrounding the newly planted tree. Keep the mulch from touching the tree trunk, and extend the mulch out at least 3 feet. Replace the mulch yearly to cover a diameter equal to the canopy of the growing fruit tree.

Step 8

Fill the watering basin one or two times weekly for the first two seasons during hot periods. Water the growing trees less when it rains or during cooler temperatures.

Step 9

Cut back the height of the tree at planting by half or to around 24 to 36 inches; this is known as heading. Remove all but 3 to 5 healthy lateral branches. Continue training and pruning the growing tree throughout the following season. Apple and pear trees are typically trained to have a central leader, or one main branch, and are pruned to form cone-shaped trees. Peaches, plums and other stone fruit trees are commonly trained with an open center or to be vase-shaped, which leaves the middle of the tree open.

Step 10

Mix a container of half water, half white latex paint. Paint the tree at planting, covering the entire tree from the top down to 2 inches beneath ground level. Repeat the painting the next season if the canopy does not provide shade for the tree's trunk.

Step 11

Apply a nitrogen fertilizer only after the tree shows sign of growth, around two weeks after planting. The University of Maine recommends applying one ounce of fertilizer spread within a foot around the tree's trunk. Keep the fertilizer off the tree, and always saturate the ground with water after applying the fertilizer. Do not use any fertilizer after the middle of June.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Pruners
  • White latex paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fertilizer
  • Fruit and nut trees

References

  • University of California: Fruit Trees--Planting and Care of Young Trees
  • The University of Maine: Planting and Early Care of Fruit Trees
  • University of California: Varieties for Planting in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri: Fruit and Nut Cultivars for Home Plantings
  • Texas A&M University: Recommended Fruit and Nut Varieties
  • North Carolina State University: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: growing fruit tree, growing nut tree, grow nut trees

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.