with The Helpful Gardener
Gardening tips: The Helpful Gardener promotes sustainable gardening that is safe for the local environment. Read all of our articles about Organic Gardening and start improving your garden today!
Growing Organic Fruit Trees
The advantages to growing fruit organically are obvious in the first bite. Your own organic fruit is not covered in arsenic (as some commercial apples are to lengthen shelf-life) or wax. Growing your own fruit means picking varieties for flavor, not looks or ability to travel. Your organic fruit may not be as picture perfect as the stuff you find in the grocery store, but fruit is to eat, not to take pictures of!
Most plants in your garden are annuals, they produce fruit only once and in the same year they are planted. Your fruit trees may not bare fruit for many years after they are planted, but will produce delicious fruit for generations once matured. Some trees can fruit for over 1,000 years!
Grow fruit in even the smallest backyard
Your fruit tree must be pollinated in order to bare fruit. Some trees are self-pollinating while others need to be planted in pairs. Some trees require three trees in order to be pollinated. Ask your local nursery if self-pollinating trees are available, otherwise, let the bees do all of the work! For apple trees, a crabapple tree makes a great tree that is used solely for pollination.
When picking the site for your fruit tree, take into consideration the landscape. Nearby slopes may cause frost pockets, which will adversely affect your fruit. Wind may also stunt the growth of your fruit tree and the altitude of your garden may be better suited for certain fruits or strains.
Let's take a look at your soil
Despite the years that must pass before a tree bares fruit, a younger potted plant is more likely to adapt well to its new location than an older potted tree. Once adapted and healthy, the tree is more likely to bare fruit. Overall, bare rooted plants are cheaper and sturdier than their potted counterpart, but any variety will work.
It's all about location... planting location
Tips on pruning a fruit tree
Have you considered an apple tree?
Apple trees do have their problems, the foremost being the Apple Maggot. Apple maggots love apples as much as we do. If you have ever found a worm in your apple, it was probably an Apple Maggot. These can be taken care of by hanging sticky red balls from your apple tree in early July. The Apple Maggots will be attracted to the ornament and become stuck in it, keeping them out of your apples.
Apricot, citrus and apple trees have a common enemy in the Tent Caterpillar. These caterpillars hatch when the leaves first open. Any visible “tents” can be removed easily with a broom in the evening and squashed or drowned in soapy water. If there are too many caterpillars, use a sulfur spray on the tree periodically.
How to keep your organic fruit trees healthy
Whether adding an ornamental dwarf apple tree to your existing garden or starting an entire orchard, growing your own organic fruit is easy and rewarding and will continue to be ‘fruitful’ for generations.