Select a sunny and wind sheltered location, with well drained fertile soil.
Select a sunny and wind sheltered location, with well drained fertile soil. Test the drainage by digging a hole at least one foot deep. Fill with water. Let it drain and fill again. If it takes longer than 3-4 hours to drain on the first or second filling, the drainage is not good enough. Choose another location or plant on a mound or raised bed that is at least 12" above ground level.
Amend the soil with commercial planting mix or finished compost if fertility is a question. Dig a hole that is at least three times the width of the nursery container. Roots will reach out beyond the tree canopy for nutrients.
When trees are young, water as needed
When trees are young, water as needed, so that soil will be evenly moist, but not overly wet. As trees mature, deep infrequent watering is preferred.
The care and pruning of all deciduous fruit trees is similar, with the exception of Cherries.
The care and pruning of all deciduous fruit trees is similar, with the exception of Cherries. Cherries should only be pruned lightly as needed in order to preserve fruit bearing wood. They should only be pruned in non-rainy seasons because they are susceptible to diseases that infect the tree through pruning wounds during wet weather.
Ultimate tree height is the decision of the gardener. Cut back or remove vigorous shoots that have grown above the desired height. This is best done in late summer or in the fall after the tree has gone dormant.
In late spring or early summer, cut back all new growth by at least half. Since small fruit will be developing at this point, you can avoid pruning the fruit bearing wood.
Larger scaffold branches should be upright and well spaced. When pruning, leave a short stub (collar) above the shoot or branch that remains. The smaller branches that bear the fruit should have at least six inches of free space between them. Try to prune so that all remaining branches have room around them. Make sure that each of the varieties on a multi tree has room to develop and is not overshadowed by other parts of the tree.
On older established trees, make sure cuts are at an angle so water does not collect on a horizontal surface. Paint pruning cuts with tree seal. After drastic pruning, whitewash bare trunks with interior white latex paint, diluted 50-50 with water. This can help prevent sunburn.
Once leaves begin to form, use a slow release all purpose fertilizer.
Unless the soil is already enriched with compost, fruit trees will benefit from fertilizing. Once leaves begin to form, use a slow release all purpose fertilizer. We prefer sprinkling the granular form rather than the tree stakes. Deciduous fruit trees do not need as much nitrogen as citrus.
Compost made from green waste and composted manures can be incorporated in the soil or used as mulch. When renewed consistently, this will provide a source of nitrogen and other nutrients over time. Mulch in the root zone will also help retain soil moisture. Be sure to keep mulch away from the trunk.
Ideal soil ph is between 6.0 and 7.5.
In the fall, apply a Bordeaux mix or dormant oil spray.
In the fall, apply a Bordeaux mix or dormant oil spray. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions when applying these or any other pesticide. Apply again just prior to blooms opening, to combat common pests and diseases.
Peaches and Nectarines in particular require this type of treatment to minimize peach leaf curl and brown rot. Apples also benefit from dormant sprays.