Fruit Tree Care

  1. The Scoop on Crabapples

    With so many different crabapples available today it is hard to know what to choose. Some of those old-fashioned crabapple varieties used to be wildly susceptible to apple scab and other diseases, to the point where the leaves would rain off the trees in August. The older selections also had fruit that was also large and fell to the ground in summer creating another mess. Those days of disease ridden, messy crabapple varieties are long gone, but not forgotten. Maybe you remember the old Hopa Crabapple from years ago? It was a huge grower with pink flowers, and once the flowers were done, it had no other attributes. Today, Nature Hills offers Crabapples of many types offering a myriad of flower color, leaf color, persistent fruit, and disease resistance. Crabapples are worth looking at once again!

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  2. Pruning Peach Trees for Larger Fruit

    Peach TreeGardeners often fall into one of two categories – either they LOVE pruning time every year (“It’s cathartic!”) or they HATE pruning time every year (“I think that tree can wait till next year.”). Unfortunately, it is part of the deal when you plant fruit trees. All fruit trees – but especially peach trees – need some coddling when it comes to pruning time.

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  3. Dwarf Citrus Tree: A Perfect Accent for Your Baby’s Room

    Indoor Citrus Tree Gearing up the nursery involves a lot of tough choices. After all, you and your baby will be spending a lot of time in there. You want it to be as healthy as possible for your little one, but also comfortable and decorative. There’s no better way to achieve all of that than houseplants. Houseplants are nice decorative accents, and are well known for improving air quality, as they produce clean oxygen from their leaves.
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  4. Fruit Tree Pollination: Does Your Fruit Tree Need a Friend?

    Many fruit trees require a pollinator, but what does that mean exactly?   Although there are fruit trees out there that are self fruitful (like some cherry tree varieties for example), others will require a recommended pollinator in order to produce fruit (like apple trees). Basically, fruit is produced when the female parts of a flower are exposed to pollen, which is what we mean when we say "pollination."  Pollen is produced by the male parts of the flower.  Some flowers, called “perfect flowers,” contain both female parts and pollen-producing male parts.  Plants with perfect flowers can sometimes pollinate themselves, but some have biological blocks in place that prevent self-pollination.  Other plants have flowers that are either male or female.  These require pollen-producing male flowers to be accessible to the female flowers.  Sometimes, male and female flowers grow on the same tree.  In some species, though, male flowers grow on male trees and female flowers grow on female trees.
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  5. Fruit Tree Fertilization

    [caption id="attachment_4366" align="alignleft" width="300"]fertile_soil Fertile soil[/caption] You want the best fruit your fruit tree can give, right? Good fruit comes from fertile soil, so the key is to  maintain soil health.  Sometimes, this means adding fertilizer, but know how to prevent over-fertilizing. Fertilizer in excess can be more damaging than no fertilizer at all. The most practical way of checking soil fertility is by investigating the annual growth of the tree.  If you inspect the branches and follow the branch from the tip to the previous year’s growth, you can measure how much the fruiting tree grew in a season. New growth is flexible and green, while last year's growth is darker (often brown) and more rigid.  A mature, fruit-producing tree should have 6-8 inches of vegetative growth each year.  Immature fruit trees grow more quickly, but don’t produce fruit.  

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  6. Can I Plant A Sweet Pomegranate Tree In A Container?

    Pomegranate in a barrel planterSweet Pomegranate Tree is suitable for a large container and is somewhat smaller than other varieties.  It grows to about 12 feet and has orange-red flowers in late spring, producing beautiful pink fruits in the fall.  The Sweet Pomegranate tree is a large fruit with light pink flesh, and the taste is sweet and juicy. This ornamental tree has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped.  The “Sweet” Pomegranate is self-pollinated, as well as cross-pollinated by insects.  Cross-pollination with another pomegranate will increase the fruit set.  It will produce fruit in 3-5 years. Pomegranates should be placed in the sunniest, warmest part of the yard or orchard for the best fruit, although they will grow and flower in part shade on a deck or patio area.  It does best in well-drained ordinary soil, but also thrives on calcareous or acidic loam. The attractive foliage, flowers and fruits of this pomegranate, as well as its smallish size, make it an excellent container or landscaping plant.
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  7. Planting & Pruning Peach Trees For Larger Fruit

    PeachesDo you grow your own peaches or nectarines at home? If not you should give them a try. They are an easy and (pardon the pun) fruitful tree to grow. Peach trees are native of China and belong to the Prunus species. The peach trees that are being grown in orchards today have a long history. Today orchard grown peaches are divided into two groups, clingstones and freestones. If the peach flesh sticks to the pit, it is a clingstone. Conversely, if the flesh falls away from the pit easily, it is freestone. Peach fruit has varying levels of acidity, and generally, the white fleshed peach is the least acidic. Yellow fleshed peaches tend to be more tangy and acidic. Fertilization or soil types do not affect skin colors of either the peach or the nectarine. Peach fruit and nectarine fruit are often thought of as totally unique fruits. In fact, the nectarine is closely related to the peach. The main difference is the lack of fuzz on the nectarine skin. The nectarine can be used in the same way as a peach. The nectarine tends to be a little smaller fruit than a peach, and it displays more red color on the skin.
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  8. Spraying Fruit Trees

    Spraying Orange TreesOne of the leading problems facing fruit trees is insects and other pests. They will infect the fruit with various diseases and often lay eggs inside. The best way to keep fruit plants free from pests is by spraying them. Spraying fruit trees not only rids them of pests, it may even help protect the fruit trees from diseases and fungus. The first step to spraying fruit trees is to get the proper equipment. Spraying fruit trees requires a sprayer, a garden hose, a mixing tub and the spray itself.
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  9. Pruning Fruit Trees

    PENTAX ImageThere are many reasons for pruning fruit trees in the garden. Pruning fruit trees stimulates growth by limiting the amount of buds that the tree has to grow. Pruning fruit trees can improve the tree structure. Thinning of the fruit will result in better quality and larger fruit. Fruit tree pruning can also be dwarfing, and may be used to control the size of the tree. Pruning fruit trees should almost always be done during the winter, or dormant season. This is when the leaves have all fallen and the structure is more easily identifiable.
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  10. Planting Fruit Trees

    Fruit Tree FarmMany gardeners decide to plant a fruit tree in their home landscape. Before planting fruit bushes & trees, there are several things to consider. The first is what type of fruit tree to plant. It is best to plant a fruit tree that is local to the region, and matches the soil conditions. It is also important to understand that many fruit trees do not self-pollinate. For this reason, more than one fruit tree must often be grown. Once the type of fruit tree is decided, the actual tree must be chosen. Most fruit trees are sold bare root, meaning their roots are exposed. It is best to plant a fruit tree with a strong straight stem, which will provide the best support. Planting fruit trees with low branches will hinder the growing abilities and can encourage pests.
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