GROWING FRUIT TREES IN YOUR YARDIf you love fruit and purchase it often, you may be interested to learn that commercially grown fruit you get from your local grocery store is often picked long before it’s ready so it looks ripe by the time it reaches the store. This means your fruit is not as flavorful or as nutrient-rich as it should be. If you yearn to pick a piece of fruit from a tree and bite into it seconds later, then you should consider planting fruit trees in your yard. Although it may seem scary at first, fruit trees are not that difficult to plant or care for. And there are plenty of varieties of fruit trees you can choose — from apple trees to cherry trees. Once you decide what kind of tree you want to plant, there are some general planting guidelines you should follow to help your fruit tree grow successfully and thrive for years.

FRUIT TREE PLANTING GUIDELINES

* There should be ample sunlight available to your tree. Make sure the sun is not obstructed by buildings, fences or other obstacles. Most fruit trees require at least 6 hours of sun a day during growing season.

* Plant your tree at least 3 feet away from sidewalks and driveways and six feet away from buildings because roots will spread wider than the tree crown.

* Allow approximately 10 to 15 feet of space between fruit trees.

* Dedicated maintenance of your fruit tree is vital. Watering will be your most important task. Mulching is recommended to help retain soil moisture and reduce water needs. Fertilizing with a good organic fruit tree food is also wise. Most fruit trees will require some pruning to remove any dead or damaged wood. But pruning requirements vary with different kinds of fruit trees so it’s a good idea to either look online, or purchase a book about your particular tree to help you in this maintenance.

* Pest and disease control may be required. The most common disease to affect fruit trees is peach leaf curl, which is a fungal disease that affects peaches and nectarines. Apple trees and pear trees can be prone to a bacterial disease called fire blight. Codling moths are pesky insects that are responsible for the worms found inside the fruit. By spraying your trees during the dormant season you can better control these issues.

* It is recommended that you thin your fruit as well. This means removing some of the fruit so what remains on the tree will grow to a reasonable and healthy size.

LOW MAINTENANCE FRUIT TREES

If you are ready to try growing fruit trees in your yard, here are some suggestions on some trees that are fairly easy to grow and take care of.

* Apple trees
* Pear trees
* fig trees
* Plum trees

Homemade apple pie, anyone?

photo credit: istockphoto

Michele Wert lives in Maryland and has 3 grown children, 2 grandsons, and a new granddaughter due in August. She's worked with children on the autism spectrum for 20 years. Michele's passions are writing, her grandkids, photography, the beach, and baseball. She is a Baltimore Orioles FANATIC! Michele is currently writing a book about a little boy who has autism.

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