How to Maintain a Fruit Tree

Overview

Growing fruit trees is a relatively easy process. In general, the most difficult process of fruit tree growth is planting and establishment. Once the planting process is complete, it is time to focus on maintaining the tree. The fruit tree's growth is quite dependent upon the seasons. Begin your maintenance in the early spring, just before the tree's growing season begins.

Step 1

Prune a young fruit tree to develop a strong framework. The tree's branches must be able to support the weight of the developing fruit. As the branches develop, remove any unwanted branches. This will help to avoid large, heavy cutting of these branches when mature. Promote a straight central leader by trimming back the branch to its most upright position. Trees with heavy fruit should have strong crotch angles. Develop these angles by pinning low lying branches to 45-degree angles. Clothespins are commonly used for this process. Some fruit trees will grow with a naturally superior crotch angle. If so, continuously inspect those branches during the first three years to ensure that the angles do not sharpen. Always remove any dead, dying or wilted branches and stems. Prune the tree in the winter to promote vigorous growth.

Step 2

Water the fruit tree based on the tree's requirements. It is important to consider soil type, climate and weather when creating the watering schedule. In general, the fruit tree will require weekly watering during the spring. The schedule should be increased during the hot, dry summer months and reduced in the fall. Do not water the fruit tree after its harvest has completed. Fruit trees that receive plentiful amounts of water, without over-watering, will produce abundant amounts of top-quality fruit. Check with your local nursery or horticultural specialist for assistance with your tree's exact specifications.

Step 3

Fertilize the fruit tree based on its needs. Young trees should be fertilized one to two times per month during the early spring months and once each month during the summer months, ending in midsummer. Mature trees may require monthly application from early spring to midsummer. Still, the requirements can change based on the fruit variation. All plants require a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to produce its required nutrients needed to grow. Nurseries, horticultural specialists and some home improvement retailers can assist with proper fertilizer selection and application.

Step 4

Inspect the fruit tree regularly. Look at all areas of the tree, from the trunk to the fruit. Fruit trees are susceptible to pests and disease. Treat pest infestations with insecticide sprays. Use the sprays only according to the instructions. Many fruit tree diseases can also be eliminated with certain fungicide sprays. It is important that you identify the correct disease before treating. Most diseases can be prevented with good care and overall maintenance. Keep the fruit tree's area free of weeds and crabgrass. These will steal nutrients and moisture from the tree.

Step 5

Harvest the tree as the fruit becomes ripe. Inspect the fruit for color, firmness, size. Once the fruit appears to be ripe, pick one and taste it. If it meets the requirements of the fruit's standards, harvest the fruit. Daily or weekly harvesting may be required until the process is complete. Remove dropped fruit from around the base of the tree to avoid decay and insect infestation.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Planting and Early Care of Fruit Trees
  • Fruit Tree Tips
  • Training and Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: fruit tree care, how to maintain a fruit tree, growing fruit trees

About this Author

Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.