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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Gardening > Flowers, Bulbs & Seedlings

Tips for Growing Fruit Trees
by Marilyn Pokorney

Almost everyone can grow one variety or another of fruit trees in their backyard. Here are some tips on growing fruit trees . . .

Plant fruit trees about 20 feet apart and in a sunny location.

Plant more than one variety of a fruit. That means there will be fruit more of the time and not all will mature at the same time.

Planting more varieties also means better cross-pollination of pears, apples, plums and cherries, which yields a more consistent production.

Use less common planting techniques. Plant two, three or four trees in one hole, or use espalier and hedgerows.

Small trees are much easier to spray, thin, prune, and harvest than large trees too.

Keep fruit trees at a manageable size. Choose a height that you can reach for thinning and harvesting while standing on the ground or a small, safe ladder. The only way to do that is by pruning.

Pruning is necessary to stimulate new fruiting wood, to remove broken and diseased wood, and to remove branches to allow good air circulation and sunlight penetration. The shape and size of a fruit tree is established during the first three years so pruning is most important during that time.

Prune fruit trees any time during January to March before flowering begins.

Be sure fruit trees receive adequate water during the growing season.

Keep a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around each tree to cover the soil over the root system.

Scatter fertilizer starting one foot away from the trunk and out far enough so that the outer edge is just outside the outer edge of the branches known as the dripline. Lightly scratch the fertilizer into the soil with a rake and then water well.

Fertilize just before bloom or leaf sprout occurs, usually in March. Use one pound of fertilizer for each one inch of trunk diameter.

During the trees second year pinch off any flowers and allow the tree to put all it's energy into developing its root system.

For more information on growing healthy fruit trees visit: http://www.apluswriting.net/garden/fruittree.htm

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