Raising fruit trees can be a rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like picking and eating fresh, delicious fruit from your own trees. But, it can also be disappointing if your trees aren't producing at their best. By applying some simple techniques, you can encourage your trees to grow more vigorously and improve their yield of fruit.
Training and Pruning
Train your fruit trees properly by pruning and thinning. Training develops a strong framework for a tree to better support fruit and opens the canopy to allow for better light penetration, pollination and harvesting.
Prune fruit trees, such as apples and peaches, annually to promote new growth that will be the primary production point of fruit each year.
Thin trees by removing weak branches and limbs to open the canopy and reduce the risk of fruit loss from breakage.
Limit the size of trees by heading, removing the terminal or top of the tree, to force it to grow outward instead of upward, making it easier to harvest more fruit.
Pests and Disease
Reduce the effects on both trees and fruit from pests such as aphids, mites, moths and flies by natural means, such as biological controls including beneficial insects or special fungal treatments that attack pests, or spraying with pesticides.
Treat the surrounding soil for nematodes and other ground-living pests to reduce the effect they can have on tree root systems.
Use fungicides and other antibiotics to reduce infections from bacterial and fungal pathogens. Remove any infected parts of the plant, if possible. In some cases, such as citrus canker, remove the infected tree itself, if necessary.
Protect trees that cannot handle freezing weather by covering them or using heaters to raise the temperature. Pay particular attention when trees are in bloom.
Feed trees with the appropriate fertilizer regularly to promote growth, bloom and fruit development.
Improve irrigation practices to ensure that fruit trees receive balanced, thorough and adequate amounts of water, particularly during spring and summer.
Ensure that trees have an appropriate pollenizer. To set fruit, some types of fruit trees require a pollenizer, another tree of a different variety that provides pollen. Bing cherries are a good example. To produce, they require pollen from other varieties, such as Windsor cherries.
Ensure that there are male trees planted to provide sufficient pollination, if necessary. Some trees, such as persimmon, have separate male and female trees and require that both be planted to ensure proper fertilization.
Place honey bee hives within reach of fruit trees during bloom to increase the levels of pollination and improve the opportunity for greater fruit yield.
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