Having a fruit tree in your backyard can be one of the most rewarding things. Enjoying freshly picked berries, apples, mangoes, avocados, and others can create delicious delicacies and family memories that last a lifetime. Proper care for your fruit trees is the key to keeping the fun flowing. The Spring-Green team, leaders in lawn care since 1977, wants your enjoyment of your fruit trees to last for years to come, so we put this guide together to help you understand how to care for them. While care will vary based on your fruit tree varietals and the region of the world you reside, these best practices will help you build a strong foundation for success care of your fruit trees.
Everything to Know About Caring for Your Backyard Fruit Trees
“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”: This old adage is almost always true; Understanding how to prevent an issue with your fruit tree is the best way to keep the enjoyment lasting for many years to come.
- Fertilizer – It’s recommended that you fertilize your young fruit tree once each year, typically in the spring before the tree fruit blooms. It’s recommended that fertilizer usage increases over the years as the tree matures. Be sure to water immediately after fertilization to ensure the fertilizer gets into the tree’s roots.
- Pest Prevention – Watch for signs of damage from pests that can hurt the fruit tree. Be sure to weed regularly and pick up fallen fruit, as well as trim off dead branches.
- Mulching – A layer of mulch applied to the base of the fruit tree not only protects the soil when temperatures drop, it also boosts the healthiness of the soil. Mulch should consist of compost, wood chips, grass clippings, shredded leaves, pine needles, or wood nuggets.
Get Good at Pruning: Regular pruning is important to keeping your fruit trees healthy long-term. Depending on the climate where you live, the bulk of the fruit pruning will take place in winter. Some pruning should regularly take place all year long as well. The National Gardening Association recommends pruning suckers and waterspouts in early summer months to reduce chances of disease and insect issues.
Young vs. Mature Fruit Trees: Your care regimen for young versus mature fruit trees is slightly different. Let’s check out some of the best practices for your trees, depending on age.
- Water a young fruit tree once every-other week.
- Mature fruit trees still need a thorough watering on a regular basis from you or rainfall.
- Fertilize your young tree gently as it grows and be sure to trim with pruning shears as needed.
- Use fertilizer intended for mature fruit trees when they have been in the ground for three years or more.
- For a newly-planted fruit tree, cut the top at around three feet and make sure the branches are uniformly spaced-apart.
- Mature trees require a yearly pruning in either late winter or early spring, removing dead and broken branches.
- No more than one third of the total growth on the tree should be removed in one season.
Planting Fruit Trees: Questions swirl for newbie fruit tree planters like “lots of direct sun versus no sun,” or “how do I prepare the ground?” as well as “how often do I water my newly-planted fruit tree?” No worries. Spring-Green has the details you need to get started on a good foot:
- Water a young fruit tree once every other week. Most fruit trees require that you apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of three feet to reach the roots.
- Find a place in your backyard (or front yard) where your fruit trees can get approximately six hours of sun each day.
- Be sure your fruit tree is planted a minimum of three to six feet from sidewalks, driveways, and buildings.
- If you’re planting more than one tree, allow 10 to 15 feet of space between each tree.
What if Your Fruit Tree is Sick?
Ways to treat a diseased fruit tree will vary depending on the type of tree and your location. However, a copper spray, found in most home improvement stores or nurseries, resolves most common fruit tree diseases. You may also explore insecticidal soaps to get rid of common pests like aphids and mites. If the disease is only harming a small portion of the tree, cut away the dead branches damaged by the disease, and with each cut be sure to disinfect your tools with a bleach or alcohol solution. When removing diseased branches, make you’re pruning cut is six inches below the diseased area. You can also learn about how to rejuvenate mature fruit trees that haven’t produced much fruit in their later years here.
Your backyard environment needs some assistance to provide the same benefits to trees and shrubs as a natural forest habitat. Spring-Green offers homeowners expert guidance in caring for fruit trees, along with other types of trees, including shrubs. Our tree and shrub care program is designed to provide quality service at an affordable price. We can provide tips for maintenance and prevention, as well as assistance when your fruit trees encounter a problem. Since 1977, we’ve provided neighborhoods just like yours with the very best in lawn care, which, of course, includes your fruit trees.
Check out Spring-Green’s…
- 2-Step Tree Program – Nourish and protect your fruit trees with Spring-Green’s tree and shrub care programs and services that keep your landscape looking beautiful and save you tons on replacement costs.
- Root Feeding Service – Spring-Green offers a deep root service that delivers essential nutrients directly to your fruit tree’s root zone.
- Specialty Injections – Tree trunk injections can allow your fruit tree to fight certain types of leaf diseases or insects.