How to Treat Fruit Trees

Overview

Fruit trees make a beautiful addition to any home garden. Many have large clusters of fragrant spring flowers, and those that are non-ornamental will produce tasty fruit if they are self-pollinating or if there is more than one tree (male and female). The specifics of caring for fruit trees can vary slightly depending on the type of tree, but there are similarities in how to treat them.

Planting

Step 1

Choose a location that gets a lot of sunlight, is free of overhead obstacles and has rich, deep, well-draining soil.

Step 2

Plant fruit trees in the spring or fall. If your climate is mild, you can plant in the fall a month before the first hard frost. If you live in cold areas such as New England or areas with much winter snow, wait until the spring to plant your tree. Wait until the ground has thawed enough to easily plant the tree.

Step 3

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball without bending the roots of the tree. Center the fruit tree in the hole with the bud union 3 to 4 inches above the surface of the ground. Backfill the hole with soil halfway, then add water to settle the dirt. Fill the hole completely with soil and tamp it down gently to get rid of air pockets that may dry out the roots. Water the fruit tree again thoroughly.

Step 4

Apply 1 ounce of straight nitrogen to the area around the fruit tree. Circle the base of the tree with the nitrogen so it forms a 12-inch circle. Then water the tree.

General Care

Step 1

Keep a 3-foot area around the tree free of weeds and protect the bark of your young fruit tree from hungry deer and other animals by placing a wire mesh screen around it.

Step 2

Fertilize your tree each spring with a fertilizer formulated for fruit trees.

Step 3

Prune your fruit tree to provide optimum fruiting and give it a pleasing shape. Stone fruit trees (those with one large seed or pit) are pruned differently from other fruit trees. See the link in the resource section for more information on how to prune your particular fruit tree.

Step 4

Monitor your fruit tree for insects, pests and diseases. Treat with an herbicide, insecticide or fungicide if problems develop.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Watering tool
  • Stake and twine (optional)
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Wire mesh screen
  • Fruit tree fertilizer
  • Pruning tools

References

  • West Virginia University: Planting and Care of Fruit Trees

Who Can Help

  • More about caring for and pruning fruit trees
Keywords: how to treat, fruit trees, caring for

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.