Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

Growing fruit trees in the home garden can be a very rewarding hobby.  There are several important aspects you need to consider and follow to produce a successful crop of fruit. Every fruit tree has its own limitations. Stone fruits such as peach, sweet cherry and plum will perform best in the warmer regions of the province. If grown outside their climate range their survival rate lessons. To determine if a fruit tree will prosper in your area, consult with your local garden centre.

The first thing to consider when planning your garden is to find a sunny location in your yard. Wet spots or poorly drained areas should be avoided as well as windy corners or areas where snow may accumulate too much. As long as a fruit tree has adequate drainage you’ll find that these trees can grow in a wide range of soil types.

Before planting, soil should be well prepared. It’s a good idea to incorporate organic matter. Well-rotted manure or compost this will improve the soil structure and increase the ability for the soil to hold moisture.

When purchasing fruit you are generally going to be shopping for 1-2 year old trees. One-year old trees should have a well-grown main stem, while two-year old trees should be well branched. You may find these trees in fibre pots and if so its important that you don’t take the tree out of the pot, simply take a sharp knife or tool and make a few long cuts into the fibre and plant entire pot into the ground.

Good crops begin at blossom time when three things are required: 1. The weather should be sunny and warm 2. There should be honey bees and insects to transfer pollen and 3.  You need the right varieties.  Don’t let thoughts of what pollinates what scare you off planting your fruit tree garden. Cross-pollination is not always needed.  For instance if the weather is warm during bloom time, most apple varieties will set a crop with their own pollen. If the weather is cool, cross-pollination from a different variety is needed. Same goes for pears, noting that most pears pollinate each other.  Peaches and nectarines on the other hand are all self-fertile.  Cherries vary in that the older varieties like Bing and Van need cross pollination where as Stella, Lapins, Sweetheart and many other newer varieties are self-fertile.

If you are thinking of planting a sour cherry like Montemerancy take note that they are self-fertile and can be used as a cross pollinator for the sweet cherries. Apricots like Tilton are self-fertile while others tend to be partly self-fertile and will need that warm spring to produce a good crop. Plums are divided into two groups: European and Japanese plums. Some examples of European are Italian, Peach Plum, Greengage and Damson. Italian plums are self-fertile, the others benefit from cross-pollination with another. Examples of Japanese varieties are Shiro, Black Amber and Red Heart. Japanese plums benefit with cross-pollination with another Japanese variety. If you are unsure at time of purchase please consult your local garden centre.

Before planting, trim off all damaged or dead root ends. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate root system without crowding (do not put chemical fertilizer directly in hole). Leave a slight depression when compacting soil around tree, this will catch the rain water or the watering during summer months. Once in production, fruit trees benefit from light application of fertilizer. Remember each year to prune out dead wood and maintain an open canopy to improve air movement as well be sure to remove all infected leaves and fruit and dispose of them as they may be a source of pests.

Good Luck and enjoy all the rewards that come along with having your own urban orchard.

Happy Gardening!

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest for other help tips and hints.


Guest post by Jodi - Bylands Account Representative

Outside of work I spend time with my family, playing golf in the beautiful Okanagan, practicing yoga and of course gardening.  I like to plant annual and perennial containers. The 2012 growing season was my first year with a vegetable garden.  I am really looking forward to 2013!