realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Top Ten Tips on caring for fruit trees

Dan Neuteboom

Dan Neuteboom

The fundamental thing to remember is that even though trees don’t talk or run around, they are living organisms and highly responsive to human beings. Regular visits to the trees are important, not least because in this way one can develop an understanding about the tree’s needs and behavior. One can then respond in the right manner to achieve good results in terms of growth and fertility. Trees that are well looked after will live much longer than us! Try to understand the tree’s needs by frequent visits, and all will be well.

Top Ten Tips
1) Do not plant an oldish or so-called “mature” tree, as you may be starting off with lots of problems. Plant a healthy 2 to 3-year old tree, and cropping will start the year after planting in the case of apples, peaches and apricots. Pears, plums and cherries will take another one or two years to start cropping.
2) Fruit trees are like youngsters; give them room to stretch out and grow, when they are young. Cropping will follow sooner then you think.
3) Make sure the trees have full light. That’s their source of energy. Shade always reduces cropping.
4) The soil has to be the best. The soil is the tree’s home. A tree likes its soil to be well aerated and full of nutrients.
5) Make sure that the soil and subsoil are never waterlogged, particularly in winter. Stagnant water is a death sentence for a fruit tree.
6) From April to September, water weekly, when the trees are young. 10 to 15 litres per week is a minimum. More in hot periods.
7) During the growing season, take note of the leaves. If they are deep green, the tree is happy. If they are a different colour, the tree is telling you something and needs your help.
8) Only transplant trees from December to March. This is the period of dormancy.
9) Keep one square metre of soil around the trunk totally free from grass and weeds. This solves many fruit growing problems.
10) When you think that picking time is near, taste the fruit. If you like the flavour, pick the fruit gently, without bruising it, and store it in a cool dark place at a temperature as close to 3° Celsius as possible. A second-hand fridge is ideal for storing all fruits.

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