How To Grow Fruit Trees
When you grow a fruit tree, you add a charming feature to your home and your yard — one that looks great and can even deliver some wonderful natural produce for eating. But are you wondering how to grow fruit trees in a manner that will help them thrive, look great and deliver wonderful fruit season after season? If so, you're not alone.
Fruit trees need a great deal of care and nurturing, especially early on. But there are important decisions you can make and actions you can take that will help ensure your fruit trees reach their full potential. Here's a look at fruit tree care tips and general ideas for tree care in Northern Virginia.
Pick the Right Tree
The first step shouldn't be too great of a surprise: You need to pick the right type of tree. Different types of fruit tree grow better in different parts of the country — and you definitely want to choose a species that's going to thrive in Northern Virginia, or wherever you live. The fruit trees known to thrive in Virginia include:
- Apple (common and crab)
- Black cherry
- Bartlett pear
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and you should definitely get expert guidance on what will work best in your part of the state and in your own yard, given the amount of rain and sunlight you typically get.
Once you decide on the type of tree that's right for you, visit a nursery and choose a grafted seedling. You can try and plant seeds on your own, but the process will take much longer and there's no certainty you will get quality fruit. Visiting your local nursery is also a good way to identify the types of fruit tree that are best for your area — a local nursery isn't going to carry species that won't thrive in the immediate area.
Once you decide on the right type of tree to meet your needs, you can begin taking action to secure, plant and care for your new tree.
Choose a Planting Location
You most likely have a spot in mind for your fruit tree before you make a purchase. But if you don't, identify a spot that's open and that gets a lot of sunlight. As a rule of thumb, most fruit trees need about six hours of direct sunlight each day, though that number can shift depending on the type of fruit tree you buy. You'll definitely want to steer clear of areas where your home or taller trees are going to cast shade on your fruit tree.
You'll also want to keep your fruit tree away from shrubs and smaller plants. Why? Because plants are competitive — they're all competing for the same nutrients nearby. You'll want your fruit tree to be able to soak up as many nutrients as possible without sharing with others.
Finally, always start with the beginning in mind. You'll want to envision your tree grown to its full height and shape when choosing a location. If not, you may accidentally plant in an area where it will not have room to grow to its full maturity without affecting your home, your fence or other important trees and plants in your yard.
Installation of Your Fruit Tree
Spring is most likely the best time to plant your fruit tree. When you plant in spring, your fruit tree is able to start growing roots and adapting to the nearby soil as quickly as possible. By waiting until spring, you also ensure the ground will be fully thawed and easily breakable for planting.
You'll want to dig a wide hole, too — one that makes it easy for your young plant to see its roots quickly expand. A general guide is to dig a hole that's twice as wide as the root system. Make sure not to dig too deep, though, as grafted trees feature a bare root that needs to stay near the surface.
After planting your tree and replacing the soil, begin the watering process. Your tree may also benefit from stakes — which can help to stabilize the young tree against strong winds and other elements. Also, find out if you need to protect your tree from animals in the area and take the necessary precautions.
Caring for the Tree
Caring for fruit trees varies from species to species. You'll want to find out what types of measures should be taken for the specific type of tree you're planting in your yard. In general, you'll want to keep four things in mind as you learn more about tree care in Northern Virginia:
- Pruning: There are many different approaches to pruning trees, and your species of tree will have recommended pruning strategies. Make sure you follow the pruning approach that's best for your tree and that will help it deliver the results you're looking for.
- Sun: Some trees benefit from sunscreen. Sunscreen for trees? Yes, you can typically apply white latex paint diluted by half in water to the trunk of your tree. This is important in areas with powerful sun and little shade, such as the American Southwest, but find out if sun protection is recommended in your area.
- Weeds: Do everything you can to keep weeds away from your tree and its root structure. It's always better to remove weeds by hand rather than using any sort of herbicide.
- Watering: You want to water — but you don't want to overwater. Too much water can rot your tree's roots. Count on rainwater for the most part, but go out and water by hand if it hasn't rained in more than a week.
Choose Richard's Tree Service
Since 1996, Richard's Tree Service has been providing tree care in Fairfax, VA as well as communities throughout Northern Virginia. We can help you when caring for fruit trees, and we can also provide expert guidance as you seek the right fruit tree for your location and your home.
Use this form to schedule a FREE estimate. After submitting your form, our team will contact you to set up this appointment. If it is an emergency please call us immediately at 703-354-3667.