I have a new DIY landscaping fever and I mentioned in a recent post that I’ve been planting fruit trees. But planting them is the easy part – getting them to thrive is the tough part. We just had a spiffy new patio built in our back yard and my plan to grow fruit trees is an effort to make our backyard look great. We received our inspiration from a very cool book that has a whopping 4250 landscape designs. The hard part is choosing! My backyard landscape design includes five fruit trees – two apple and three peach.
Fruit Tree Growing 101
More fruit trees die in their beginning years due to poor care habits than any disease or pestilence. Therefore, it is vital that you understand how to care for trees in a way that ensures their immediate successful growth as well as future good health. Fruit tree growing isn’t haphazard. There are ‘rules’ if you want gorgeous trees and lots of healthy fruit. I do. That’s a major part of my ‘do it yourself landscaping’ plan.
During the first stages of the tree’s life, the roots, trunk, and branches are not fully developed. They do not have the strength to support a large crop of fruit yet. If your tree is producing fruits, occasionally the combined weight is enough to snap off an entire branch. If this is the case, you should provide external support for your branches – prop them up with boards, or tie them to something at a higher altitude. As long as you can provide your tree the support it needs in these early years, it should grow to be independent in no time at all.
Proper nutrition is not only necessary for the production of healthy fruits, but is also necessary for the tree to survive longer than one
season. The exact specifications vary with the area, climate, and type of tree, but I’ve found that there is no better source than a nursery employee. Maybe they’re just eager to sell you the right type of fertilizer, but in my experience, they are almost never wrong. Just inform them about the conditions your tree lives in, and how healthy it is looking. They should be able to help you find something to improve the state of your tree.
Lots of people think the only way to ensure a tree’s healthiness is to provide it insane amounts of water. This is not the case at all. As a matter of fact, giving too much water to a tree can be more harmful than making it go thirsty. At best, it will have a negative effect on the taste of the fruit. But at worst, your entire tree could die and prevent you from ever growing fruit in the future. So, do not ever try to solve your problems by giving it lots of water!
Solve your tree’s health problems at
the root, so to speak. Go to where the problem originates and fix that. If it is too late and you’re already starting to see unhealthy branches that look either diseased or damaged, you should always remove them. If the tree is wasting nutrients by sending them to a branch that cannot be saved, it is practically throwing away all the nutrients it could use on the other, healthier branches. As soon as, you notice a branch deteriorating or becoming unhealthy, chop it off right away. At the very
least, trim down the unhealthy part, but leave all the segments that still look like they could continue growing.
Once your tree has started to enter the picking stage, you must remember that fruit is bound to fall. Never leave any of this fruit on the ground. Also, be careful to get every piece off of the tree. Even if it is an ugly looking fruit that you don’t want to keep, you should still pick it and throw it away. Once these fruit begin to rot, they provide a perfect home for unwanted insects, or diseases that can transfer to the tree itself. So always remember to rake up the fallen fruit and save yourself a lot of future grief.
Nurturing a young fruit tree and caring for it throughout its life is a daunting task. It may even seem impossible sometimes to keep track of all the factors that make a tree healthy. But, if you just pay attention to the nutrients that your tree needs, you should be on the right path. In addition to nutrients, figure out the precise amount of watering to quench your tree’s thirst without drowning it. Just do all these things, and you will have a beautiful healthy tree that produces delicious fruit.
My Backyard Landscaping Design Guide & Inspiration
Do it yourself landscaping needs a plan if it’s going to be successful. Up until now, my landscaping has definitely been helter skelter … "Oh, this looks nice. I’ll plant it here." That’s why I purchased the Landscaping4Home book. I have laid out a plan on paper and I’m going to hire out one task: making some pathways through my backyard. The plan I chose has gravel paths with brick edging that’s flush to the ground. That’s a bit too labor-intensive for me. But the rest of my DIY landscaping will be all me! How very cool.