fruit trees

I planted an orchard this spring with bare root stock. I know nothing about growning fruit, I just like to pick and eat it. What do I need to do for the trees and when?
I did prune them back as I planted them and have seen to it that they have plenty of water.
Now what?
Thanks, The inexperienced grower Sue
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Hi Sue, If you want clean looking fruit and healthy trees, you will have to do periodic spraying with fungicides and insecticides. Generally, the 'Orchard Sprays' sold at your garden stores will handle most problems. You also should do a dormant oil spray in early spring. Young trees may not need a lot of fertilizer, but as they mature, you should either give them a slow release fertilizer in Fall, after they go dormant, or something in the Spring. I suggest you scan the web for information on 'caring for fruit trees', and you should find more details.
Sherwin Dubren
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cameraman wrote:

This varies according to both your climate and the varieties of fruit. Please provide additional information.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Hi David, Just a bit curious as to whether there are climates in the USA where spraying and fertilizing are not recommended.
Sherwin Dubren
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sherwindu wrote:

Climate may determine when you spray and for what purpose.
Fertilizing may depend on local soils. It also depends on climate, since you don't want to encourage new growth when frosts are likely.
Not doing either may limit the size of your fruit crop or even what varieties will thrive. Remember, most fruit varieties are not found in nature; they are not natural. Thus, you have to have lower expectations when trying to grow them via natural-only methods.
However, the original thread (below) did not explicitly mention spraying or fertilizing. It did mention pruning, but it did not mention the fruit varieties or climate.
Where I live (mild winters), I prune my peach tree and grape vines around New Year, to enhance the crops. I prune my dwarf citrus lightly throughout the growing season (March through October), for appearances and to keep the foliage from exceeding the ability of roots to supply water (growing in containers). I prune my guava about once every 3-4 years, usually in February or early March, for appearance. My loquat is not yet big enough to prune.

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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I live in southeast Kentucky at about 1000' elevation. I planted golden and red delicious and fuji apples, I also planted peaches, necterines, apricots, and plums. I would have to look up my records to remember which kind of those.
Thanks, Sue
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cameraman wrote:

I can't help you with the apples. We don't get enough winter chill to grow them, which is fine because I'm not really fond of apples.
Peaches and nectarines have the same cultural requirements. Actually, a nectarine is merely a fuzzless variety of peach. They need severe annual pruning, just before the buds begin to swell. Your initial pruning should have removed any leader (main vertical stem). Apricots and plums also need a lot of pruning each year but not quite as much as peaches. Go to a large public library, and check to see if they have books on pruning in their gardening section.
Right after pruning, you should use a dormant spray that includes a fungicide. All stone fruits need this. (I use a mix of dormant oil and copper sulfate). Repeat this spraying just as the flower buds start to show dark pink. Check with your county's agricultural agency to see if you need to spray your trees for bark borers (I must); if this is needed, do it right after the flower petals fall. Other spraying might be needed to prevent insects from damanging the fruit.
When the fruit on the peach and nectarine trees is about the size of an almond in the shell, thin the fruit by twisting. Leave about 6 inches of branch between each fruit. What remains will grow larger, but the pits will remain the same size. You might even get more edible fruit than by not thinning because of the increased amount of flesh without any increased amount of pits. Apricots should also be thinned while still quite immature. Thinning also prevents branches from breaking under the weight of excess fruit. I'm not sure about thinning plums.
For feeding, I use a general lawn food just as leaves start to sprout. However, your feeding depends on your soil type. Your county agricultural agency can advise you about this.
To keep birds from damaging my peaches, I hang unwanted CDs from the outer branches of my tree. I drill a small hole near the edge of each CD and use about 6-9 inches of kite twine to hang it. The CD moves in the breezes and flashes sunlight, scaring the birds. Some people use foil strips.
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Climate: California Mediterranean
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Hi Sue, I do grow apples, peaches, apricots, sour cherries, and plums here in the Chicago area, and I think my previous advice is basically sound, for you. Schedules in Kentucky may differ somewhat, but the general principles I stated, still hold true. Seems like I have seen fruit tree maintenance information from the U. of Kentucky. I would search for their web site, or a nearby state. Also, contact any Agricultural Extension Services in your area for information. Actually, schedules can be determined from your own observations. Dormant oil should go in as early in the Spring, as possible. You can start spraying when the trees come out of dormancy. You want to stop using pesticides while you have petals, or you will kill some of the friendly bees trying to pollinate your blossoms. Continue with the spraying until shortly before you pick the fruit, usually a few weeks will be adequate. I feel you cannot spray enough. The limitations are the weather (it has to be calm day, with no rain in the forecast for a few days), and how much time and/or energy you have to do the job. You will learn from experience which particular insects and funguses are problematic in your area, and you may have to change your spray chemicals to solve those particular problems. I think pruning is important, but for young trees, it should not be a higher priority than spraying and feeding. If you did a good initial pruning, you should not have to do much, for at least a few years, as the trees begin to put out significant growth.
Sherwin D.
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