The benefit of adding a fruit tree — or trees, as the case may be — to your farm or homestead goes beyond its fruitful bounty. Planting and picking your own fruit gives you more control over the pesticides that are used on them, which is a particular problem with commercially grown fruit. Though fruit trees add beauty and utility to your yard, there are a few considerations before you pick one for your homestead.
Here is what you need to know. The first step is the choose the type of fruit tree that is best for your land. Orange trees, for example, tend to thrive in tropical and subtropical areas in the southernmost tips of the United States, whereas sour cherry trees thrive in colder areas up north.
Renae Moran, tree fruit specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said that certain fruit trees do better in Maine than others.
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Moran said to consider the winter hardiness of the fruit trees, as well as the length of their growing season. Trees with shorter growing seasons are more likely to thrive in Maine, whereas fruits that ripen in November, like pink lady apples, are unlikely to flourish.
Some popular fruit trees, particularly apples, can be more challenging to grow in a backyard if you are not willing to use pesticides.
Commercial fruit-growing enterprises, she said, are likely to spray their trees liberally in order to keep bugs and blights at bay. Those are usually fruits that I recommend for somebody who wants to do it in their backyard. Moran and Smith both agreed that you should contact your local nursery to get more information on the best fruit trees for your area. Smith said that growers in warmer climates with longer growing seasons and milder winters will want to plant in the fall before the last potential for freeze, but Moran said that growers in colder climates like Maine would be better off planting in the early spring so the trees can properly establish themselves before freezing temperatures arrive.
Depending on whether the tree is self-pollinating, you may need to get more than one and space them. Apples, pears and sweet cherries, Smith said, are not self-fertile.
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They need two different sources of pollen, so you will need at least two different trees that produce different varieties of the same fruit for successful pollination. For self-pollinating trees like peaches, sour cherries and apricots, on the other hand, you only need one tree. Smith and Moran agree that your local cooperative extension is the best resource to help you determine what exactly you need to help trees thrive on your land.
All fruit trees are vulnerable to hungry deer and other wildlife, which makes them a little challenging to establish. Moran said to consider protecting the tree from wildlife using a small fence, cage or repellant, such as heavily scented bars of soap hung from the branches. There certain kinds of pests that you want to look out for, too.
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Aphids, mites and grasshoppers all love chewing on fruit tree leaves, and there are many different kinds of fruit flies that will plague your ripening fruit. Diseases like fire blight and powdery mildew can also infect different kinds of fruit trees. In the same vein, Moran thinks you should manage your expectations when it comes to the longevity fruit trees.
People get discouraged. When it works out, though, it presents a new challenge: what are you going to do with all that fresh, tasty fruit? Different fruit trees will be ready to harvest at different times depending on when they ripen. Generally, fruit is ready to pick when normal, unblemished fruits naturally fall to the ground. Pecan varieties grown in the northern part of the U.
Flowers of fruit trees must be pollinated to produce fruit.
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Without sufficient pollination, they may blossom abundantly but will not bear fruit. Some trees, like pecans, have separate male and female flowers on the same tree.
If the male pollen is shed before the female flower is receptive, fruit set becomes a problem. Some species of fruit trees do not fit conveniently into either category. Pistachios, for example, have male trees that produce pollen and female trees that produce fruit. To grow them successfully, it is necessary to plant at least one male tree for every eight female trees. Most apple trees are self-unfruitful. Plant at least two different varieties near one another. If there is a crabapple tree not far from your solitary apple tree with a similar blooming period, it can also act as the pollinator.
Most peach varieties are self-fruitful. Most other peach varieties will pollinate those self-unfruitful varieties. The lack of fuzz on the fruit is the main difference between a nectarine and a peach. Nectarines are usually smaller and have a distinctive, somewhat sharp flavor. Nectarines do not need pollinators. Nectarine flowers are more susceptible to frost injury than peaches, and the fruit is frequently scarred from injury by insects. Leading varieties of apricot trees are self-fruitful. However, a pollinator will increase production. In northern New Mexico, apricots are good shade trees, but be very cautious when considering apricots as a fruit crop due to their early bloom.
Japanese plums bloom earlier than European plums, and for this reason Japanese and European plums will not usually pollinate each other. They are hardier and bloom later than sweet cherries. These self-fruitful varieties can serve as universal pollen sources for self-unfruitful sweet cherry varieties. Trees need full sunlight for best production. Inadequate sunlight delays the beginning of fruit bearing and may reduce the amount of fruit.argo-lider.ru/scripts/cut-genrico-zithromax-100mg.php
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Avoid placing fruit trees where they will be shaded by buildings or by other trees. Your trees will grow more vigorously and bear better if they have adequate space to develop their root systems. Do not plant them where roots of forest or shade trees will compete with them. Use cultural controls, mulching, herbicides, or other tools to reduce competition from weeds or grass. Train and prune fruit trees to systems suitable for the species. Strong branches are needed to support the weight of a heavy crop. Severe pruning may stimulate excessive upright growth, which delays flower production and reduces yields.
Trees must be healthy to produce good-quality fruit.
Weak or diseased trees produce either poor-quality fruit or no fruit at all. Water and nutrient management is also necessary for healthy trees. Even for organic production, you still need to feed your trees with organically allowed compost, manure, or other organic fertilizers. Occasionally, fruit trees bear heavily one year and sparsely the next. Therefore, an especially heavy crop in one year may prevent adequate bud formation for the following year, or may seriously weaken the tree. Biennial bearing of apples is difficult to alter or correct.
Sometimes chemical thinning or hand thinning, when fruit set is heavy, can induce a return to normal yearly fruit production. Thinning should be done early, soon after fruit set and before flower buds for next season are initiated. Thin fruit to approximately four to six inches apart. You can also adjust fruit load through winter pruning—thin some flower buds during winter pruning if the next season is supposed to be a heavy crop year.
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