Trees provide us with so many amazing benefits. They please our eyes
and senses with their beauty. They soothe our ears with the gentle
rustling of their leaves on a lazy summer afternoon. Trees shade our
homes from the heat of the sun. They pass essential oxygen back into
the atmosphere and reduce soil erosion. The list goes on!
But when you can actually EAT part of your tree... well, that's
definitely a very tangible benefit!
The part of the tree I'm talking about, of course, is fruit. Fruit
trees can be the ideal addition to your landscape, but they do need
some special attention if you wish to reap the full benefit of
abundant, lush and healthy fruit.
One of the most important elements in successful fruiting is the very
first one you must decide upon: Where to plant your fruit trees. Pick
the wrong location now and you won't be picking fruit in the future.
Here are some pointers to help you find the perfect spot.
Let there be light. Fruit trees need sunlight. The amount and intensity
of sunlight needed will vary with different varieties, so check the
planting instructions and eliminate those locations that cannot provide
the right amount of sun.
Look left, look right, look up. Your fruit tree may be a cute little
guy when you bring him home, but like that Great Dane puppy you
couldn't resist, he's going to get bigger! In the case of some
fruit trees, a LOT bigger. Look around and be sure the site isn't too
close to pools, ponds, pathways and driveways. You don't want the
roots cracking the concrete and you don't want low-hanging branches
scratching your car. More important, you definitely don't want the
upper branches snagging utility lines or phone and television cables.
Soil check. What are the soil requirements of your prospective trees?
If your trees didn't come with this important information, call your
supplier or another reliable source and find out before you plant. If
you are in any doubt, send me an e-mail at email@example.com
describing your soil conditions or the trees you're considering, and
I'll respond with some advice. Soil factors that can make a big
difference include drainage, compactness and pH balance.
The birds and the bees... If your trees need cross pollination (not all
varieties do) they will need to be within 150 - 200 ft of each other if
you want your trees to, uh, "be fruitful and multiply."
Looking good. Finally, what about aesthetics? Decide on a location for
your fruit trees that will be pleasing to the eye and add to the
overall balance and attractiveness of your landscape. They should also
be planted in a location that will allow easy harvesting of the fruit.
So you have determined the perfect location for your trees and your
mouth is watering at the prospect of all those delicious fruit pies in
your future. Which fruit trees will you plant?
Firstly, be sensible about trees that suit your geographic area. An
orange grove in Alaska? I don't recommend it. Secondly, it makes
sense to select trees that will produce fruit that members of your
family really enjoy eating.
In future columns, I'll discuss the pros and cons of some fruit trees
that have become favorites of ours. But meanwhile here is a quick scan
of a few that might help start thinking of what is right for you.
Viva Sweet Cherry If you like a cherry that has medium-red, semi-firm
flesh and a sweet taste, look out for this variety.
Arkansas Black Apple Here's a somewhat unusual apple in that its deep
purple skin turns almost black at maturity. A very tart, crisp apple
that is excellent for eating fresh or cooking in pies, or even in
Ruby Queen Plum This tree produces plums that are about 2 inches in
diameter. They have the advantage of ripening about 3 to 4 weeks after
most other varieties, so you can have fresh plums when no others are
Plant your trees in the right location with the right soil conditions
and look forward to some good eating in the years ahead!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and
landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org For resources and additional
information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, go