Fruit Tree Care Tips

apple fruit tree

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.

pruning fruit tree

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.

Contact A Pro From Spring-Green Today To Get Started.

Top Tips for Spring Tree Care

flowering tree

As we enter into spring and embark on the warm summer months, many homeowners are left grappling with caring for their trees as the seasons change. Questions swirl around the tree-loving homeowner’s mind like: How do I care for my trees as they come out of dormancy? How do I help my trees stay healthy in the spring? These questions and so many others are about to be demystified, so you can feel confident that your trees are going to thrive as they move into spring as well as the rest of the year.

The 1,2,3’s of Caring for Trees This Spring & Year-Round

  • Understand Dormancy and How It Works – Trees have an extremely resilient nature and an inner intelligence that allows them to go dormant during bitter cold periods of winter and, like clockwork, wake up when spring finally brings warmer temps. Scientists determined that trees actually block communication between the cells inside the bud during winter, preventing growth cells from developing.
Sycamore Tree Winter
  • Inspect Your Trees and Shrubs – Once the snow begins to melt, and the temperatures slowly begin to climb, it’s a good time to take a venture outdoors and examine the state of your trees and shrubs. During a harsh winter, the conditions can have an impact on the well being of your trees and shrubbery. Look for injuries from freezing temperatures that may have caused bark to split or browning on evergreens from winter burn. As we enter spring, it’s the essential time to treat any of these issues and prevent them from causing further damage.
  • Prune Away Dead Branches – As we enter spring, it’s time to grab the pruning shears and clear away the dead branches. The general rule of thumb is to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after they flower in the spring. The flower buds from those plants were set in fall, so shearing or shaping of these plants in the spring will result in fewer flowers. Individual limbs can be removed if they are crossing another limb, are damaged, or if you want to improve the shape of the plant. It’s also highly recommended to prune at this time to improve airflow and light penetration.
prune trees
  • Break Out the Mulch – Your mulching efforts at the start of spring will help retain moisture, even if the temperatures drop to extreme levels as they can do during the unpredictable spring. Mulching has many other benefits, including weed prevention and lessening the likelihood of attacks from borers, ants, and beetles. Three inches of mulch is all you need and be sure to avoid piling mulch up on the trunks of trees to form “mulch volcanoes.”
  • The Time to Water Is Now – Step up your tree watering game as you enter spring and gear up for summer with these best practices – water deeply but infrequently, don’t over water, and water during periods of drought. Also monitor moisture levels, making sure your trees don’t dry out your trees. This is an excellent time to check on the sprinkler system too, ensuring they are working properly, and that the coverage is accurate.
watering tree

Caring for trees and shrubs requires a year-round effort. As we exit the cold months and step into spring, we can set our trees up to thrive by following a few easy instructions. And, if you need some more help with any aspect of your arbor or lawn care, Spring-Green has a team of professionals ready to mobilize and assist you with all your needs.

Contact Your Spring-Green Specialist Today!

Can I Prune Trees in the Winter?

This may be a good winter to do some tree pruning, especially if the weather stays mild. Winter is not the time you want to try to shape hedges, even evergreens, but you can correct a number of problems that may not be as visible during the growing season when deciduous plants are covered with leaves.

Which Branches Should I Remove?

Tree that needs pruning

The first things you want to look to remove are any broken branches. Also look for branches that are growing into the tree instead of growing out of the tree. Often times, these branches will cross another branch or restrict the growth of the limbs that are growing in an outward fashion. Removing branches that are growing too low can also be done at this time of year.

Sometimes trees or shrubs will become infected by cankers or other diseases that may be noticeable at this time of year. The distinct advantage to pruning trees in the winter months is that there aren’t many leaves to rake up.

This is not the time to shape hedges or prune flowering shrubs. These plants flower in the spring or summer and have already set their blossoms for the following year. Removing these flower buds will reduce the flower levels. Confine your winter pruning to removal of broken, crossing or diseased branches.

Where on the Tree Do I Make the Cut?

pruning

When it comes to pruning, don’t just cut a branch where it is convenient. Instead, make a proper cut close to the main branch or trunk. Leaving behind stubs, or cigars as some people call them, may not seriously hurt the tree, but it just doesn’t look good.

Plus, the wound made by the cut will not heal properly. This may result in wood- decaying fungi invading the tree in the future.

Make the cut just beyond the collar of the branch. The collar is the slight swelling that lies next to the main branch. By cutting at that point, the tree will quickly grow callus growth over the wound to protect it from pest infestation, either from diseases or insects.

Pruning trees in the winter is a good activity, as long as you keep in mind these important points.

Spring-Green offers a number of tree and shrub care services to help your lawn and landscape look healthy and beautiful. Contact your local Spring-Green today!