Fruit trees do more than just add beauty to a landscape. They also provide delicious and nutritious fruit. Growing fruit trees involves permanent gardening as it requires more work than just planting and harvesting fruit, notes the University of Arizona. For a good fruit production follow particular cultural practices such as pruning, weeding and controlling birds or other pests. As different fruit trees have special needs, be sure to follow basic principles specified for growing a particular fruit tree.
Fruit trees come in three basic sizes: dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard, according to Eartheasy.com. Dwarf fruit trees are suited for small spaces and are easy to harvest and prune. Although they’re the smallest type of fruit tree, they produce normal-sized fruit. Semi-dwarf fruit trees are extremely productive, but sometimes they need to take a year’s sabbatical from producing fruit. Standard fruit trees need more space and entail more effort in pruning and harvesting.
The period of time that elapses between when a fruit is planted and when it bears fruit depends on the type of fruit. According to Washington State University, trees with an average growth rate typically bear fruit sooner than those trees that grow either too slowly or too quickly. While apple and apricot trees only take from two to three years to produce fruit, fruit trees such as sweet cherry trees can take as long as four to seven years to yield fruit.
The tarnished plant bug can do significant damage to backyard fruit trees. They leave deep dimples in fruit and when there are many them, some type of control is needed. Michigan State University recommends using white, sticky, reflecting traps that are non-UV (non-ultraviolet) that don't block out light.
Coddling Moths are pests in which larvae burrow into fruits such as apples. They can be identified by their sticky-brown feces. Although mass trappings have failed to work in large commercial fruit groves, these trappings have proven to be more successful in home backyard fruit trees.
Peach tree borers, which resemble wasps, are moths that attack stone fruit trees. Use traps for controlling these pests, checking spray labels for when to use them.
Consider how much fruit you intend to eat and process. It’s important to allow enough space between trees to avoid overcrowding later on as trees mature. Properly select and prepare soil, considering maximum root growth. Also, be sure to choose the right types and varieties of fruit trees for your particular location and only buy top-rated nursery stock, notes the University of Arizona.
Some cold wintry conditions are needed for most hardy fruit trees to encourage spring growth, according to the University of Washington. Winters that are exceptionally mild can delay spring growth or cause irregular growth. Conversely, extremely cold weather can kill fruit buds, although wintry weather conditions usually doesn’t hurt fruit trees such as hardy apple, plum, pear and sour cherry varieties. Sweet cherry trees are somewhat cold-intolerant until they’re dormant and peach trees are especially sensitive to cold weather.