What Happens After You Revitalize Fruit Trees That Were Intentionally Planted Too Close Together?

Overview

The practice of planting fruit trees closely together allows home gardeners to enjoy orchard fruits. With proper pruning and maintenance, closely planted trees thrive, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers Association. Renovated apple and pear trees will likely produce good quality fruit within a season or two. Peach and nectarine trees are difficult to renovate, advises Pennsylvania State College of Agricultural Sciences. They are best removed and replaced.

New Growth

Once rejuvenated, the trees will begin to produce healthy new growth. The single most important aspect of care for keeping closely planted trees healthy is pruning. Keep rejuvenated fruit trees at a manageable height of 10 to 12 feet high for easy maintenance and harvest. Growers should never remove more than 25 to 33 percent of a tree's canopy in a single season, according to the Pennsylvania State College of Agricultural Sciences. If you pruned heavily to rejuvenate the tree, wait until the following season to remove any more wood.

Suckers

In response to heavy pruning, the trees will produce suckers, or soft, vegetative growths. Pluck these out, rather than prune them, while they are green and no longer than 12 inches. Once they turn brown and hard, prune them with pruning shears.

Fruit Production

The trees may produce fruit the first season after rejuvenation. If so, thin the fruits to one fruit per leaf cluster, spaced 6 to 10 inches apart. This practice ensures that the branches don't break under the heavy load. Thinned fruit also ripen better and grow larger.

Pests and Diseases

Air circulates less efficiently between closely planted trees, increasing the possibility of pests and diseases. Neglected trees are more prone to pests and diseases, as well. Inspect the trees for signs of disease and pests, including a hollow trunk or brown or orange scale on the wood. Ask a local county extension office to positively identify problems and recommend a spraying treatment.

Low Vigor

Neglected trees sometimes lapse into a state of low vigor and don't produce new growth, according to Nova Scotia Apples. An application of nitrogen the year following the renovation is helpful in encouraging new growth. Apply 0.5 lb. of 5-10-10 granular fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter. Measure the trunk 18 to 24 inches from the soil surface to determine diameter. Spread the fertilizer 6 inches from the trunk to the edges of the limbs.

Keywords: renovating fruit tree, closely planted tree, fruit tree old

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.