Planting And Caring For A New Tree
When you have decided on which kind of fruit tree you would like, and
where you would like it, you can finally start to plant it. If you buy
your tree from a nursery, be especially careful when you are taking it
from the nursery to your house. I once had a friend who put the tree in
the back of his truck, but clipped a sign on the way home. The entire tree
snapped in half, and my friend was left a very sad man.
When you have gotten your tree safely back to your yard, look at the
bottom of it and see how big the clump of roots is. It may seem like a lot
of work now, but you want to dig a hole that is twice as wide as the
clump, and just a little less deep. Making the hole slightly bigger than
the clump of roots allows there to be room for the soil that you dug out
to be put back in. Otherwise you would be stuck with a giant heap of
unwanted dirt, and nowhere to put it. After you have dug the hole, line
the hole with some compost or fertilizer so that the tree will grow
better. After you have done this you should set your fruit tree into the
hole, and spread the roots out evenly so that the tree will be strong and
When all of this business is done, take the soil that you dug up and fill
in the hole completely. Unless you want big piles of dirt everywhere, you
should be sure you use all of the dirt even is it is a couple inches
higher than the rest of your yard. This is because it will compress when
watered. Before you firm up the soil, make sure that the tree is
completely vertical and will not fall over. After you have checked that
the tree is perfectly vertical you can gently firm up the soil.
If the tree's trunk is not yet completely sturdy and can be bent, you need
to tie the tree to a stake with a bit of rope. Be sure not to tie the rope
tightly to the tree, as you need to allow room for the trunk to grow. Once
the tree is sturdy enough to withstand all types of weather, you can take
the stakes off of it. When all of this is done you should mulch around the
base of the tree. If you live in an area where wildlife can access your
yard, then you should put a fence around your tree, because some animals
will eat the bark off of young trees.
Once you have successfully planted your fruit tree it will start to bear
fruit after it is three to five years old. Once your tree starts to carry
a lot of fruit you should periodically pick some of the fruit so that the
branches aren't weighed down too much. If the fruit gets too thick, the
branches can break off. On some years your tree might not bear as much
fruit as others, but this should not worry you. Healthy trees often take
years on "vacation" where they produce little or no fruit.
After you've planted your tree you might start to have some problems with
pests. To help keep these pests away, always rake away old leaves, brush,
or any other decaying matter that could be holding bugs that could be
harmful to your tree.
To make sure that your tree always stays healthy in the long run, you
should prune it during winter or spring. Water your tree every two weeks
during dry times, and be sure not to hit your tree with a lawn mower or a
weed eater because it could severely damage the growth process. Also just
make sure that your tree gets plenty of water and plenty of sun, and your
growing experience should be just great.
What To Look For When Buying A Tree
Although the process of growing and caring for a tree is generally
challenging and even difficult at times, sometimes one of the hardest
parts is choosing which kind you want. You have to choose between the many
sizes, fruit, and other attributes. The different sizes include: dwarf,
semi-dwarf, and standard. Your choice can affect everything about your
growing experience, including the amount of work you have to put in and
the amount of rewards (fruit) you will obtain.
Dwarf trees are ideal if you only have a limited amount of open space in
your yard. They take up as little as only as eight-foot diameter plot of
land. Although the dwarf fruit trees are smaller than the others, their
fruit is just the same size and the shortness makes them easier to prune
and harvest. Dwarf fruit trees aren't known for living quite as long as
larger fruit trees. They begin to bear fruit after three to five years, so
if you are going to buy a dwarf fruit tree from a nursery you should
always check and see how old it is.
Semi-dwarf trees are medium sized, and when they are full grown they take
up a fifteen-foot diameter. Semi-dwarf fruit tree's height can range from
as low as ten feet to as high as sixteen feet. To keep them from getting
to large you should prune them at least once a year. Occasionally
semi-dwarf fruit trees take a season off and produce little or no fruit,
but mostly they produce hundreds of fruit every year. Many people enjoy
having semi dwarf fruit trees because they produce more fruit than a dwarf
tree, and they are generally easier to harvest and maintain than a
standard fruit tree.
Standard sized fruit trees take up much more area the then any of the
smaller tree varieties, and they are also harder to keep manageable and to
harvest all of the fruit. If you do not prune them at least once a year
they can grow as large as thirty feet. If you are just looking for a good
tree to provide you with plenty of delicious fruit from and to keep your
yard shady, a standard sized tree would be the perfect tree for you.
Standard sized fruit trees take a very long time to reach their full
height, but they usually begin to bear fruit after only three to five
The best variety of fruit tree to buy would be one that carries fruit and
does well in your area, because a local fruit tree takes less work and
grows the best. Although fruit trees bearing other, more exotic kinds of
fruit may seem more exciting, they usually won't grow as well in your
area. That's not to say it's impossible. You can definitely try to grow a
more exotic tree, but it will take much more commitment and time.
Another factor involved in deciding on a type of tree is what kind of soil
you have, because some trees do better in damp soil while others are
better suited for drier soil. If it rains often in your area you would do
well to plant a plum tree. But if you do not get very much rain you would
do better to plant a pear tree or an apple tree. Before choosing which
type of fruit tree you would like, consult your local nursery or gardening
guru to find out which trees would do well in your area.
Other things that you should look for while looking for a fruit tree at
the nursery are things like how sturdy it is, if all of the branches are
evened out, how straight the tree stands, the condition of the roots that
support the tree, the length of the stem, and the height of the fruit from
the ground. Making a careful and deliberate decision can mean the
difference between having the stunted fruit from your lopsided tree being
eaten by animals all day long.
Finding Drought Resistant Trees
If you live in an area that is slightly parched of water, you know better than anyone that one of the things that decides whether a tree survives or not is your ability to supply it with sufficient water. Unfortunately, many people don't take this in to account when buying a tree. They will just go for the nicest looking tree, and then wish they could give it more water. If you do a little planning before you rush out and buy a tree, you should be able to find trees that can survive on lower amounts of water.
Usually the most adaptable plants are the ones that are indigenous anyways. If you live in a zone that is suffering a water crisis, usually the only plants that survive are the ones that have been there all along. This is because they are used to the conditions and know how to survive. Just take a drive through the undeveloped regions of your city, and look at what trees are green. Find out their names, and buy them. They might not be the most attractive trees, but you rarely have to make any modifications to your soil to get them to grow.
One of the trees that will grow almost anywhere without using much water is the "Scotch Pine". Not only does it grow at a very fast rate of 20 or more inches per year, it is hardy and drought tolerant. It usually grows between 25 and 35 feet, and it extremely easy to get started. Most nurseries sell these trees, especially in areas with lower amounts of water. There are many varieties available. Many fade to a yellowish brown color during the colder months, and this is usually what causes some people to dislike them and others to love them. However, there are varieties available that do not do this.
The Rocky Mountain Juniper is an extremely hardy and easy to grow tree. Its bark also turns a browner color during the winter, and rejuvenates in late spring. They are frequently used as windbreaks because of how tough they are. These trees are also great if you are trying to attract different varieties of birds to your yard. They provide great branches to nest in. Unfortunately the Rocky Mountain Juniper doesn't grow as fast as other hardy plants like it. The rate is less than 10 inches per year.
Another one of the most popular drought resistant trees is the Russian Olive. This tree is impressive and will definitely turn some heads once it is fully grown. It is more decorative than the trees mentioned above, and will reach 20 or 25 feet once it is fully grown. They are able to grow in almost any soil, and attract birds with the berries they produce.
As you can see, there are many options for you if your water is limited. There are many others that I have not mentioned, and depending on your area you may be able to find a preferable variety. Do a Google search for hardy plants that will survive in your area, and you should be presented with a large list. If you can't find that list, just go outside and see what is currently flourishing. That is the best indication of what you should buy.
Dealing With Moths
Having a steady supply of fresh fruit from your backyard is quite a nice thing. Many people strive to attain this dream. However, many people fail to realize how easy it is to obtain a fairly serious infestation of worms in their fruit. I can't think of anything more unpleasant than biting into an apple off of the tree you've slaved over for so long, only to find that you have not been diligent enough with your pesticides.
Even though it seems like a hassle to always be spraying pesticides, it is something that you should never overlook. Spraying pesticides is a fairly quick and easy process, and you shouldn't have to do it very often at all. Believe me; it is worth it to just get out there in the yard every couple of weeks and spray.
Spraying can seem like a time consuming process. After all, you have to go out and buy all the supplies, mix the chemicals, apply them, and clean up everything you used in the process. Sometimes you'll even need a ladder to reach all segments of the trees. The entire process can take as long as four hours if you have several large trees. Doing this every 2 weeks can get very tiresome and irritating. However, you should always persevere. Usually being adamant in your regular spraying will help prevent infestations of such things as moths, but sometimes it's just not enough.
Usually you can recognize of moths have laid eggs on your trees by the ends of the branches. If you notice something that looks like a cluster of moth eggs, you should immediately prune the branch you found it on and destroy it. Check the rest of the tree very thoroughly. If the eggs were to hatch, you would have a huge amount of moth larvae crawling around through your tree and into your fruits. I don't know about you, but the very thought of this makes me wretch.
I once had a friend who was dealing with a very bad moth infestation. He couldn't find a single fruit on his tree that didn't have a worm inside of it. He ended up having to cut down the entire tree (the stump was a wriggling mass of white larvae. I threw up when I saw it. Damn my weak stomach!) and have the stump professionally removed to get rid of all traces. Having to start completely over on a tree you've worked on for so long is an absolute travesty.
I myself live in the same area as that friend I just mentioned, and I have never had a problem with moths. This is because every Saturday during springtime, I make it part of my schedule to go outside and spray down my entire tree. Preventing the infestation of unwanted guests is much better than having to cut down a tree and start completely over just because of a little laziness.
If you have not thought of spraying pesticides in the past, you should head to your local gardening supplies store today. Find out what pests are most prevalent in your area, and buy the appropriate pesticides to prevent them from ever visiting your trees. I urge you not to brush this off, as it will save you lots of trouble in the long run.
Starting An Orchard
If you have a large amount of land that you have not put to use, you may consider planting an orchard. If you've had previous experiences with planting and maintaining trees, that is an added reason why you would be perfect for maintaining an orchard. It might seem like an overwhelming thing to undertake, but it is actually fairly simple. All it takes is some commitment.
If you've never grown a tree on your property, you might not want to make the time and money investment of buying lots of trees. If you are inexperienced, you will want to start with just one or two trees so that you can get a feel for the growing process. Once you have seen one tree along all the way to adulthood successfully, you are probably experienced enough to handle multiple trees. You should never plant so many trees that you are going to be overwhelmed, though. Only plant what you can handle.
Generally if you are getting started on a large amount of trees, you will want them to all be the same type. If they all require the same amount of water and nutrients, you won't have to spend as much time catering individually to the different types of tree. As an added benefit, you will become very familiar with the process of growing that specific tree. You won't be overwhelmed by having many different types, but instead you will become a master of that specific type.
If you already have a tree growing on your property that you have maintained from its childhood, then you know that the soil is acceptable for that type of tree and ones similar to it. Since you've already been through the process of growing that type of tree before, you shouldn't have any problem testing all of the soil to make sure it is similar to the segment you already planted on. Then it is just a matter of growing more trees and causing the process to be the same as it was before. Since you've already dealt with the same problems in the past, you probably have a good idea of how to deal with any pests that might come about during growth.
Generally in an orchard, the trees are planted in a row, then pruned to be in a two dimensional shape. This is known as either a fan or an espalier shape. There is one main branch in the center that is completely vertical, then multiple branches that go off to the side. If the side branches are horizontal it is known as an espalier. If they are sloped, it is known as a fan. Generally these 2 shapes are used in orchards because of how compact they are. By using them, you allow for many more trees to be in the certain amount of space. However, if land conservation is not an issue or you're not looking to be efficient, you should probably stick with the traditional tree shape.
To aid in the watering of your trees, you should install either a sprinkler system or an irrigation system. The sprinklers require more maintenance, but if you dig an irrigation ditch then it is really easy to just run the faucet for a few minutes every day and reach all the trees. It's just a matter of what you would prefer.
Once your tree collection starts to bear large amounts of fruit, you can consider starting a fruit stand or participating at the farmers market. Instead of letting the fruits go to waste or trying to eat them all (which can lead to some bad stomach aches), you can let the rest of the world enjoy the product of your intense labor. If you become a popular vendor, you might even make back a decent return on your investment. However, you can't count on making very much money. Starting an orchard shouldn't be a capitalistic investment. You should only start one if you have a passion for trees.
How To Safely Spray Pesticide
If you want to protect your fruit tree from pests during the summer, this is almost impossible to accomplish without the use of pesticides or chemicals. This might scare some people into thinking that the actual fruits will contain traces of the chemicals. If you do things correctly, you can get rid of all the pests and not infect the actual tree. If you're going to be spraying chemicals, you most likely will be using either a handheld pump or a hose-end sprayer.
If you're using the pump sprayers, you will be able to more accurately determine the mixing of the chemicals. Unfortunately, you won't be able to spray it very far. Usually it won't reach the tops of trees. This can be achieved with the hose end sprayers, but getting the correct mix of chemicals is quite a challenge. It all depends on your water pressure to get the correct mixture of chemicals, but water pressure is not constant. One day it might be lower, in which case your chemical content would be higher. The types of materials you buy for hose application are generally in an extremely strong form. They need to be severely diluted before they are weak enough to apply.
When you are mixing the chemicals for spraying, you need to follow the directions exactly. You are dealing with dangerous chemicals, so its best to do exactly what the professionals recommend and wear the proper protective gear. When you're dealing with chemicals like this, you should always wear rubber gloves. Use the exact portions indicated on the label. Estimation won't work in this case, and you could end up killing your tree or not killing any bugs. You should usually start by putting in the proper amount of pesticide, and then top it off with all the water.
Now comes the spraying. The goal is to spray the same amount over all the areas. You still don't want to spray so much that enough builds up to drip off of the leaves. Usually you will want to get a ladder so that you can get within spraying distance of all the portions of the tree. Apply the pesticide in even, full sweeps as to hit every piece. Never go over the same part twice, because that is when you start to drip.
If you're dealing with a large and well developed tree, you should stand on a ladder under the base of the trunk. Spray all segments from the inside towards the outside. After you are done spraying the outer canopy, you're ready to get out from under there and work on the rest. Once you are done cleaning, be sure to fully and thoroughly clean off every bit of equipment you used, including your clothes. Don't include the clothes you wore while spraying in the rest of your family's laundry.
While you're spraying for pests, the main thing to keep in mind is to avoid dripping onto the ground. When this happens, the pesticides will be absorbed by the roots of the tree and be transported to the actual fruits on the trees. As long as the pesticides stay on the outside and you wash your fruit thoroughly before you eat it, you will have nothing to worry about as far as being poisoned goes.
Different Types Of Apple Trees
In the past, there have been only a couple different kinds of apple trees that you could buy. But now, thanks to the wonders of genetic engineering, if you want to buy an apple tree you are able to choose between many different types of apples and flavors. Here I will outline five different popular types of apples that you can consider for your first apple tree.
First introduced in Japan, the Fuji apple has been around since 1962. The Fuji apple has yellow-green skin with red streaks down the side. The inside is delicious and sweet. It is white, firm, crunchy, and very flavorful. It becomes ripe in the middle of September, but tastes the best if it is left to fully mature until October or November. These apples will start growing early and grow in abundance. They are good for pollinating other apples. The Fuji tree can tolerate wet, dry, or poor soil, but the fruit quality will most likely reflect the quality of the soil. The apples always taste the best when they are fresh, and are great for cooking.
Gala apples are a wonderful tasting import from New Zealand. The Gala apple has yellow skin with a slight hint of red, and it is medium sized. The insides are yellow, very juicy, firm, crisp, and smell excellent. When they are fresh they are one of the best tasting apples you can grow. They grow quickly, and the trees bear heavily. They become ripe in late July. They are generally not used for cooking, just because Fuji is a better alternative. The trees can grow in wet, dry, and poor soil as well.
The delicious Brae Burn apples' color varies from gold with red streaks to almost completely red. It was first popularized some time in the late 1940's. It was also originally from New Zealand along with the Fuji, and is now the best selling apple in Germany. The insides are white, crisp, aromatic, firm, and juicy. They are sweet, but also slightly tart. The size varies from medium to large. They were introduced to the United States around 1980, and met with great enthusiasm. They are some of the most popular apples in the world. They generally don't become brown too quickly after being cut. They become ripe around October or November.
As red as its name proclaims, the Red Delicious apple is very tall and large. Their yellow insides are crisp, sweet, juicy, and delicious. They are grown across the country, and are great to put in salads. They are usually recognized by their distinct heart shape. They were first introduced in 1874 in Peru, Iowa. They become ripe in mid to late September. They are usually best when they are fresh off the tree.
Golden Delicious apples have great, juicy flavor. Their insides are firm, white, crisp and sweet. They are great for cooking because even when they are cooked or baked they keep their great taste and shape. The skin is thin and soft. They are great for salads. They range in size from medium to large. They are shaped much like the red delicious apple. The insides are crisp, juicy, sweet, and mild. Many people enjoy them, although they bruise rather easily. They become ripe in late September. They are good for many purposes, and they last a long time if not handled roughly.
Selling At Farmer S Markets
Usually the main motivation for planting a fruit tree is just the joy of maintaining a tree and eating the delicious fruit that comes from it. However, in my personal experience it is possible to go on a quite lucrative venture with fruit trees by operating a fruit stand or participating in a farmer's market.
When I moved to Florida, I was slightly depressed at the fact that I had just left behind years and years of hard work to get my lawn to the point it was. However, I was able to healthily channel this depression into the desire to get a new and more beautiful garden and lawn setup going. The house I moved into was nice, but the previous owner obviously had no gardening prowess. The lawn was barren of any features besides grass. Lots and lots of grass.
I decided that since I was now in a new climate that I had never experienced before, I would grow some trees that I didn't have the opportunity to grow before. I decided to do the truly Floridian thing to do, and get a few orange trees. It was a lot easier than I had imagined. I've had some rather disastrous experiences with planting trees in the past, and planting the orange trees was no problem at all. I decided to go with Valencia oranges, just because they are the most popular orange to grow and almost everyone is able to grow them successfully.
After I picked out what type of orange I wanted, I decided to get three trees. It took me about 3 days to dig all the necessary holes and install the trees. It was a flawless operation, and I truly felt like an expert. The trees grew healthy and straight, and produced fruit at the time of year they were expected to.
For the three or four years, my orange trees didn't produce very much fruit. Sure I never ran out of oranges for my own personal usage, and I drank almost nothing but orange juice, but I didn't have the ludicrous amount that you might expect from 3 trees. I wouldn't say I was disappointed with my trees. I was happy to be getting any fruit at all. But I had heard of people getting thousands and thousands of oranges from several trees, and I was slightly baffled as to why I wasn't so fortunate.
About a year after that, my orange trees really took off. I walked outside one day to see about 5 times as many oranges as I had grown in any previous seasons. I thought I was seeing things, but they all stuck around. I harvested so many oranges that year, I hardly even knew what to do with all of them. That was when my neighbor suggested to me that I sell at a farmer's market. I found out the time that they go on, and rented a spot for my truck (some farmers markets allow you to come and sell for free, but mind charged rent just to park your truck).
Within the first day at the farmer's market, I had made back all the money I spent on the original trees. My oranges were truly a hit, and I was getting more customers than any of the other participants. After that week, I didn't miss a day at the farmer's market. It wasn't enough money to live off of, but it was a good amount for just selling some oranges. Besides, what else would I have done with them? I certainly couldn't have eaten them all by myself. So if you have an excess of fruit, you should never throw it away or try to eat it all by yourself. Take it to the farmer's market and try to get some extra cash for your gardening labor. If your products are delicious, you might just be a hit with the consumers.
Preventing Diseases In Fruit Trees
If you maintain any pitted fruit trees such as plums, peaches, or cherries, I'm sure you know that those types of trees are much more susceptible to diseases than any other type. While the fruits are delicious, it can be rather hard to live with all of the maladies that can plague the life of everyone who has ever grown one of those types of fruit trees.
The main disease that you will hear about the most is known as "Brown Rot". This is a fungus that attaches to many of the leftover fruits after the picking season is over. Not only does it look disgusting on the leftover fruits, but it also can come back on the newer fruits, rendering them inedible (unless you enjoy eating fungus). To prevent this malady, you should prune your trees often to encourage good air circulation. Buildups of moisture are the main cause of the brown rot. Also when you are done picking for the season, you should get rid of all of the leftover fruits in the tree or on the ground.
A cytospora canker is a disgusting dark, soft area on tree branches. Gum protrudes through the bark, along with a large callus. The pathogen which causes these cankers usually enters the tree through older wounds. If you prune all of the sprouts that occur in late summer, cankers will have a harder time making themselves known within your tree. When you prune, always allow the wounds to heal naturally rather than use the wound dressings that you can buy at gardening stores. I've found that these usually do very little to help any situation, and only serve to make the tree look unnatural.
Those planting plum trees might deal with something called Black Knot. The symptoms of black not are rough tumors or growths that can be seen on the tree's branches. If you see any of these, you should immediately chop off the branch it has attached to. If you use branches for mulch usually, don't for this one. This disease can easily re-enter the tree if it is within a certain distance.
Almost everyone who has ever maintained a cherry tree has dealt with the "Cherry Leaf Spot". It usually shows itself when there are old dead leaves accumulated on the ground. Preventing this disease is fairly easy. All you have to do is be fairly diligent in raking up all of the leaves that fall from your tree. If you have already seen signs of the disease, you should destroy all of your raked leaves. If not, then you can use them as mulch.
When your fruits ripen and become ready for picking, you should always be completely finished with picking within 2 weeks. It is best to daily go outside and pick all of the new ripe fruits, along with any that have fallen off of the tree or are starting to rot on the tree. By doing this, you will prevent bees and wasps from becoming too dependent on your tree for nourishment.
Growers of fruit trees are constantly faced with diseases and pests to worry about. However, if you take the proper precautions then you can avoid most of them. You should also look for any diseases that have been affecting your local area, and try to take steps to prevent those as well.
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