Fruit Tree Care

  1. The Methley Plum, One of Nature's Best

    In the world of Plums, there are hundreds if not thousands of varieties worldwide that are available for the home gardener. All have their own distinct characteristics - but none so distinguished as the Methley Plum. This variety has it all; it is widely adapted throughout the U.S. from zone 4 to 9, offers heavy production on a naturally small tree with medium to large rich flavored red-fleshed fruit and is self-fruitful!

    The Methley plum actually has a very interesting history in that it is believed to be a Hybrid between an American Plum variety (Prunus cerasifera) and the Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina). This happened unintentionally as a select seedling in South Africa around the turn

    Read more »
  2. The Era of the Mandarin

    Marketing has played a huge role in bringing to the forefront one of the most wonderful categories of fruit, the Mandarin. With the introduction of bagged Clementine Mandarins under various brands beginning in the mid-2000's, the Mandarin has quickly become recognized for what it is: the world’s finest fruit.

    The Mandarin has been recognized for its superior qualities in China since the 3rd century AD. Its introduction into the United States would not occur until the 1840's when the Italian consul brought one to New Orleans, La. from Italy. From this point, it was introduced to the southern coastal states, Florida and finally to California.

     The Mandarin, sometimes mistakenly called a Tangerine (which is a marketing name for one Mandarin variety), represents a category of mostly small, seedless, easy-to-peel, wonderfully flavored fruit. Mandarins ha

    Read more »
  3. Health Benefits of the Sour Cherry

    Sour - or Tart - Cherries are very nutritious and are easy to grow

    The Cherry traces its history as far back as 3300 BCE. Both the Sweet and the Sour Cherry have been a highly desired part of the human diet for thousands of years.

    The fresh Sour Cherry pies of Michigan and Wisconsin are always in demand during cherry season. A popular variety for pies is Montmorency Cherry - there is always a huge demand for those pies, and no wonder. They taste amazing! Sour cherries have been used by pie-makers for a very long time, but did you know they are also very healthy as a dried snack?

    You typically find them in health food stores, or in the organic section of your local grocery store as "Tart Cherries." 

    Super Fruit Health Benefits o

    Read more »
  4. Understanding Container Citrus Tree Fertilization

    Understanding fertilizing your container Citrus should begin with some words of caution. Fertilizing should never be administered as a medicine to cure a poorly performing plant. This means that a properly fertilize plant should never need fertilizing to cure poor performance.

    For example, plants grown in the nursery receive consistent care, which includes proper feeding. When one receives a new plant, typical symptoms that might arise from the adjustment to a new location - such as yellowing leaf, leaf wilt and leaf drop - rarely have anything to do with the plant’s nutrition. Most often these symptoms are the result of changes in the plants environment such as lower light, exposure to an excessively dry environment or over watering. All care should be given to providing the best location for your citrus plant and developing watering h

    Read more »
  5. Adapt Your Fruit Tree to Your Home Garden

    The desire to grow your own fruit has never been more popular than today. The access to different fruit types has never been better. The internet makes the possibility of what you can grow seem limitless. But there is one limit that all who desire to be successful at producing home grown fruit should consider in their pursuit, and that is adaptation.

    Cold winter temperatures, extreme hot dry summer temperatures, inadequate sunlight, poor draining soil conditions, susceptibility to local diseases and size control are some common adaptation considerations.

    Depending on where you live, your selection of what fruit to grow may often require special needs to keep it healthy and productive.

    Some things to keep in mind when choosing what you would like to grow are:

    - Is this plant recommended in my USDA climate zone?

    Read more »
  6. Protecting In-ground Citrus & Avocados - Zones 7, 8 and 9b

    With the onset of winter comes the cold. Depending on where you live you may have begun watching the weather reports to get ahead of a cold snap that could damage your Citrus or Avocado plants.

    Depending on the variety, a rule of thumb is Citrus and hardier Mexican varieties of Avocados will tolerate to 30 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 hours without damage. Some noted exceptions would be the Mexican Lime and any citrus or Avocado tree that has been recently planted.

    Selecting the best location to plant is your best advantage against the cold. Choose locations that have good air movement but not exposed to high winds and avoid low locations where cold collects during the fall and Winter. In marginal citrus locations (zone 7) selecting a wall of the house or a south facing wall that radiates heat to add protect to your plants. Avocados

    Read more »
  7. Indoor Winter Citrus Care

    This is the time of the year when all citrus grown in cold climates is brought indoors for winter protection. There are a few critical considerations that will allow your citrus plant to adapt to being indoors and stay healthy until it is put back outside in the spring.

    The optimal place to over winter a citrus is in a greenhouse that is climate controlled. This is rarely available to the average homeowner. The process of bringing plants indoors should begin about 3 weeks before expected night-time temperatures reach 35 degrees or less. Citrus plants should be brought to a protected location that is well lit but not necessarily full sun. A location up against the house is ideal. A covered patio works well or just a wall that has good radiant heat coming from the house. The idea is to get the plant

    Read more »
  8. Planting a Fruit Tree is Just Not Digging a Hole

    Some places in the country may be able to get away with just digging a hole, putting a tree in and covering it with soil. This is not the average situation by no means. Most homeowners are face with a variety of different soil types and drainage issues. Here are a few simple ideas on what to consider when planting a fruit tree.

    First and most important is drainage. The most common reason for fruit trees to struggle or die is due to poor drainage. The best time to get familiar with your drainage is during the wettest part of winter. Watch the locations in your yard and make note of how long the water stands in any area after a heavy rain. Locations that take over 5-6 hours to drain-off are potential problem areas.

    When drainage is determined to be good with no long-standing water the hole required is not so difficult to dig. The idea

    Read more »
  9. Low Summer Water Area Fall Fruit Tree Preparation

    Wherever summer watering is necessary, fall preparation can make a tremendous difference with the success of your fruit trees. Choosing the location and digging the hole are very important in considerations for planting fruit trees. Determining how the trees will be cared for will ensure many years of bountiful fruit production.

    At the top of the list is an irrigation system. This is essential in low water climates and is not as expensive or difficult as one might think. Irrigation tubing, drip lines, emitters and a timer (clock) are your basic requirements. The system you create goes together like a child’s toy, pushing connections together, punching holes for drip lines and setting your clock as you would to bake a cake. Your system need not be a work of art, rather a work that functions.

    The initial s

    Read more »
  10. Move Citrus Indoors for the Winter

    As temperatures begin to get cooler and the days get shorter, all citrus grown in cold climates need to be prepared to be brought in for the winter. This routine needs to be gradual to ensure that the plant does not get shocked by too quick a climate change.

    The most important consideration in transitioning to indoors is watering. As the days get shorter, the plant's growth rate slows considerably. This results in water needs that are quite a bit less than in the spring and summer. Start to pay close attention to how wet the soil is. Do this by checking with your finger pressed into the soil up to the second knuckle. This is the most accurate way to become familiar with soil on the dry side. You want to check the soil just before watering. The soil's moisture content will differ with the

    Read more »