How to Grow Native Fruit Trees

How to Grow Native Fruit Trees image by jcptalbot/flickr.com

Overview

Growing native fruit trees is a great way to boost your backyard food production. Depending on where you live, it's possible to grow everything from apples, lemons and plums to peaches and oranges. Native fruit crops include American grapes, cranberries, blueberries, American mayapple, beach plum, black cherry, Southern crabapple and saw palmetto.

Step 1

Choose the kind of native fruit tree you want to plant. Many require cross-pollination to grow, so you need to plant two trees 15 to 20 feet apart. Talk to an expert at the nursery or garden store to determine if the tree you desire needs a partner tree. Make sure the tree you choose is appropriate for growing in your area.

Step 2

Buy a bare root plant or a tree in a pot. It's important to realize that it can take a few years for trees to bear fruit.

Step 3

Pick a planting spot in the sun. Fruit trees need 7 to 8 hours of sunlight daily to perform the the photosynthesis process. The energy they get from the natural light helps the tree convert carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, which makes it healthier.

Step 4

Plan to plant the tree or trees when it is overcast and cooler outside. This will ensure the plants aren't put under too much stress.

Step 5

Use a shovel to dig a hole that is deep enough so that the tree is planted as deep as it was at the garden center. The depth of the hole will depend on the size of the root ball. Make the diameter about one and a half times as wide as the root ball.

Step 6

Add several shovelfuls of compost or organic material to the hole. Place the tree in the hole and step back to determine whether it is straight. If so, cover the remaining space with the rest of the soil removed from the hole initially.

Step 7

Water the tree thoroughly and pack down the soil. Spread mulch or pine needles around the base of the tree to keep weeds at bay. This will also help the soil stay moist.

Step 8

Fertilize the trees with a solution that is made for fruit trees or one that promotes bloom. Look for a higher number in the middle such as 15-30-15. These numbers tell you how much nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are in the fertilizer. Following the manufacturer's directions, apply the fertilizer around the drip line of the trees, which is the imaginary line on the soil that matches the outward edge of the leaves above.

Step 9

Check the fruit trees often for signs of disease or pests. Depending on the problem, the fruit and/or leaves will have blemishes and spots (see Resources). Remove infected twigs, branches and fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Native fruit trees
  • Shovel
  • Soil
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Mulch or pine needles

References

  • Earth Friendly Gardening: Why not Plant Some Native Fruits?
  • The Gardener's Network: How to Grow Peach Trees
  • HowStuffWorks: How to Grow Fruits

Who Can Help

  • About Fertilizing Trees
  • Fruit Tree Diseases
Keywords: grow fruit trees, native fruit, plant trees

About this Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.

Photo by: jcptalbot/flickr.com