Home orchards are valuable and popular additions to yards around the nation, and bring with them tall, picturesque trees for climbing, blooming and fruiting. Although some fruit trees grow in almost any area, others are sensitive to temperature and weather, and all fruit trees require some specific care. Before planting fruit trees, it's a good idea to learn about their special needs and seasons.
Fruit trees may be citrus--lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or tangerine; stone fruit--cherry, peach, plum or nectarine; or seeded--apple, pear or banana. Different varieties of fruit trees have different adaptations, and are appropriate in different areas.
All citrus trees are cold sensitive, and grow best in semitropical, warm areas where there is little to no frost. Stone fruit trees are hardier to cold and grow in cooler locations. According to Rutgers University, peach trees, for example, can grow anywhere in the U.S. Apples are equally hardy, growing in crisp northern states like Washington. Regardless of temperature, all fruit trees needs sites where they get full sun all day.
Soil and Fertilizer
Fruit trees require good nutrition and complete drainage, so should always be planted in a combination of quick-draining soil and compost. Some trees appreciate fertilizer at planting while others do not. Fruit trees may grow upward of 30 feet in both height and spread. Gardeners must always take this into account, and plant fruit trees with adequate space for both upward and outward growth.
Fruit trees require plenty of water for growth and fruit production. Water is helpful during planting, when fruit trees are attempting to establish themselves. Most fruit trees do well with 1 to 3 inches of water a week during the summer, and restricted waterings during winter.
Although all fruit trees come with seeds, not all seeds produce fruit trees when planted. The seed of an apple may not germinate, and if it does, it may not grow a tree that is true to the apple from which it came. Most fruit trees are grafted onto roots of stronger trees to produce nursery seedlings. Those seedlings are the best choice when it comes to planting fruit trees.
Summer is fruiting season, and the time when fruit trees bloom and grow. Plant fruit seedlings in spring to give the young trees a chance to take advantage of the summer growing season before their winter dormancy.