Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fruit tree care for beginners

Choose and evaluate the site
All fruit trees require or benefit from sun so the more sun the situation gets the better. Sun equals sugar equals more flavour and sweetness in the fruits and better colour too. Make sure the soil is not prone to waterlogging, especially in the winter. No fruit trees will tolerate that Similarly trees will struggle to produce worthwhile crops if available water dries up during the summer.. A consistent water supply is the best. P.H is generally less important.
South or West facing aspects are the ideal.
Choose suitable pollinators.
Most fruit trees do not actually yield well on their own. Make sure you choose varieties that ‘go’ together or are actually self fertile. Peruse the catalogues for information, or a specialist nursery will be able to help and guide you in your purchase.
Planting
Make sure the soil is well cultivated, preferably [although not essentially] a few months before planting. It should be friable, deeply cultivated and have a top dressing of N.P.K fertilizer or bonemeal. The dormant period, planting bare root stock, from November to late March is the easiest method to transplant, but you can plant at any time if the stock is pot grown and you are prepared to water well during the first summer. Spiral rabbit guards are very important now for most areas or you could wake up to find your beloved trees nibbled to death literally overnight.
Water and Mulch
Water regularly the first spring and summer following planting as the trees won’t yet be fully established. A mulch rich in organic matter will help reduce stress, conserve moisture, and prevent weeds from establishing. The area immediately surrounding the trunk must be kept free of weeds and grass.
Pruning
Is a necessary part of tree formation which results in better yields and a more shapely tree. The basics of pruning young trees should be described to you in literature supplied with the trees. A full cultural guide on pruning can also be viewed here.[insert link to cult guide] It’s better to prune and get it wrong than to not prune at all! Unpruned trees can never reach their potential whereas if pruned incorrectly they nearly always grow again anyway! Summer pruning is generally the preferred time.
Pests and diseases
Prevention is usually better than cure. Whether you garden organically or not, acquire a modest arsenal of products for preventing mildew, aphids/greenfly and winter moth – these are the primary problems you are likely to encounter.

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