The bounty of fruit trees goes beyond the fresh fruit they can produce through summer and fall. They also provide shade, attract pollinators and provide fodder for gift baskets that can be shared with friends and family.
Dwarf and Semi-Dwarf Trees
Many fruit trees come in dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard varieties. Dwarf trees take up the least space. Semi-dwarfs can surprise people with their height--an apple semi-dwarf can reach 20 feet high.
Pruning Is Necessary
Fruit trees do better when pruned. Pruning removes dead branches, allows more light and air to circulate and stimulates the growth of wood that will fruit.
Trained fruit trees grow into particular shapes through judicious pruning. Training regimens include espalier (trees grow flat against walls) and central leader (trees have a Christmas tree shape).
Less Fertilizer Needed
Fruit trees need less fertilizer than other kinds of trees. In fact, fertilizing fruit trees too much ends up causing them to grow more green instead of fruit.
Because space is limited in a backyard, trees can be pruned down to keep them short (about 12 feet tall). Trees can be planted in very close proximity to reduce yields and produce fruit on a staggered schedule.
To produce fruits, some trees must have male and female trees planted near one another, or trees of different varieties. Other trees are self-fruitful, that is, they can self-pollinate.
- A Garden of Your Own; Michael O'Brien; 1993
- Backyard Orchard Culture
- Fruit Trees and Pollination Information
- Training & Pruning Fruit Trees-NCSU Cooperative Extension
- AZ Master Gardener Manual: Fruit Trees
- Examples of High Density Fruit Tree Planting
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About this Author
S. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media who specializes in making the complex clear. A freelancer for over 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover many topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews, learning a lot and talking to many interesting people.