How to Take Care of Fruit Trees
Fruit trees are flowering, deciduous trees that prefer warm climates. Most fruit trees are impartial to their soil type but require it to be well-drained and well-protected. Fruit trees are natural growers that, with careful maintenance, can provide many years of landscaping beauty and plentiful fruit.
Plant your fruit trees in the spring, just after the winter’s frost has thawed. The soil should be moist, but not muddy or waterlogged. Position the tree in a location that will receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Dig a hole about one foot wider than the tree's root ball and deep enough so that the trees roots arent' crowded. Fill the hole with compost, and place your tree inside the hole. Do not fill your hole with fertilizer as this could burn the roots of the tree, permanently stunting its growth. Allow ample room between trees, at least 12 to 18 feet.
Fertilize your tree regularly during the growing season, but never immediately after planting. If you have a newly planted tree, wait two to three weeks before fertilizing. Fertilize the tree in the early spring, early summer, and late fall. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer during the spring and summer applications. This will promote vigorous grow and development. Use a well-balanced fertilizer in the late fall to promote overall health and hardiness. This fertilizer should include nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.
Water your fruit tree regularly. All fruit trees, but especially newly planted ones, require diligent watering to promote growth. Provide at least five gallons of water every week during the growing season. This can come in a combination of rainfall and watering, if it is the rainy season.
Prune and train your fruit tree to promote a sound and supportive structure. Prune the tree’s branches and stems to ensure that the growing fruit will remain on the tree until fully ripened. Train the tree’s central leader to grow in the upright position. The central leader will lead the tree’s directional growth. If the leader begins to grow in a slanted or leaning direction, prune the branch down to its straightest position. Central leader training is most common in apple, cherry, pear, pecan and plum trees.
Inspect your tree regularly for the presence of pests and disease. Look closely at the tree’s trunk, branches, and developing fruit. Aphids and ants are common predators of fruit trees. Spray your tree in the early spring with an insecticide to prevent and eliminate infestations. If you find signs of fungus, trunk scabs, spotted or curled leaves, your tree may have a fungal disease. Fungal disease are common in fruit trees, especially apple, peach, and apricot trees. Fungal diseases can be eliminated but should be treated early. Speak with your local nursery or horticultural specialist for assistance in selecting the right fungal treatment.
Harvest your fruit tree at the end of its growing season or when the fruit is fully ripe. Inspect your tree’s fruit on a regular basis to keep track of the fruit’s progression. When you see that the fruit is ripened, pick it from the tree. The tree will also begin to drop the fruit as the fruit ripens.