Our little farmette consists of almost 4 acres of land. We moved here a couple years ago. It had a nice big house, fruit trees and berry bushes. Something we had been trying to get started at our old property. We knew we would want to grow what we had, and planting fruit trees would be needed.
We have 8 very over grown and untrimmed apple trees, 2 pear trees that bear small fruit and 2 very large cherry trees that we can’t pick all the berries from. There is a 3rd cherry tree that is taller than our garage and well, the birds love that tree. It will make nice wood furniture someday.
After 2 years of trimming back the apple and cherry trees, we have decided that we need to plan ahead and plant new trees. The older trees are starting to not bear fruit.
We (and I mean my husband) did a lot of research on different fruit trees. We ordered 11 new trees from an online company along with 2 blueberry plants. He then went to a local store and bought an additional tree and 2 more blueberry plants. In total we have 16 trees and 6 blueberry plants. We had bought some trees last year and are moving them all to one location.
UPDATE: All the bare root trees we purchased died. We ended up replacing them with bigger trees we bought at local garden stores.
deciding what trees to buy
With the research my husband did, he really looked at the types of apples he wanted. Taking into account when the apples will be ready to pick. He also looked at the size of the trees. We went the dwarf or semi-dwarf or we will just trim the tree short varieties.
We selected dwarf trees as they will be smaller and easier to pick fruit from. You will need to decide your preference.
Taste of the fruit is another decision in your selection of fruit trees. Are you going to can the fruit, sell it at a farmers market? What do you want to make with the fruit, eating from the tree or into pies, jellies, etc? Make sure to pick the appropriate selection.
We went with trees that will not all bear fruit at the same time. Our apple trees will come on a various times, so we don’t get overwhelmed with fruit at once.
laying out where to plant what
You can see with the map below, we have the mapped out what tree had to go into what hole. My husband also noted when the tree is to bear fruit. To the far right he noted if they were dwarf or semi-dwarf trees if unknown.
Planning where you are planting what is helpful in many ways. Tags on the trees won’t last forever. You can see what you planted where and add addition trees in as you want.
planting fruit trees
Once you have selected and purchased your trees, be sure to follow the directions on how to prepare the trees for planting. Do they need fertilizer, soaking, how deep to dig the holes.
The directions with our trees suggested that they soak in water for 6 hours. We got buckets and put the trees in. Most of our trees were bare root when we got them.
Ensure you dig the holes the appropriate size (details should be on the tree tag or in the information that comes with the trees. Our holes were dug deep enough to keep the graft of the tree (the knotty thing at the bottom) above the hole.
I like to have the hole filled a little lower than the ground next to it so that when it rains, the water pools and helps water the tree.
You may want to consider putting shields around the bottoms of your trees. We put them on our trees so that the rabbits hopefully will leave the trees alone and not chew the bark. If you have deer, you may want to put up fencing to keep them from eating the tree branches. Other pests you’ll want to consider when the trees bear fruit are birds (especially for the berry trees). There is netting you can put over the trees to keep the birds from eating the fruits.
Be sure to water the trees regularly. This is especially important as they are fresh in the ground. If you plant during your rainy season, you may not need to water as much as mother nature will help you out.
Note: We also went and purchased a crab apple tree to add to our mix. Crab apple trees can help pollinate your apple trees and will fill in any gaps in pollination between varieties.
Planting fruit trees can be very rewarding. It requires time and patience. You can share the extras you have with family and friends. You could even sell at your local farmer’s market if you wanted too.
Buy soaker hoses, this will allow drops of water to go onto your trees and allow the trees to get established and grow. For us it’s easier to turn on a hose and let them soak all day (or night) than remember to carry buckets of water out to the plants.
What fruit trees are you planting or have in your yard?