D
eciding to grow a fruit tree in your yard is a great investment in your property and can result in wonderful produce for you to enjoy. Here are some tips to help you grow a fruit tree so that you can get the most benefit from your tree. You want to consider: choosing an appropriate tree, fertilization, and sustainable pest management.

Choosing the Right Fruit Tree

The type of tree that’s right for you and your situation depends primarily on your climate, the space you have, and the type of fruit you like. Here are some examples for the Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs regions:

Tree Space Required Sun / Soil Fruit Season Considerations
Apple 5 to 18′ normal
4 to 8′ dwarf
Full / Loamy August – October Most varieties will not pollinate themselves. Check for a self-pollinating version or plant two types near each other.
Plum  20 to 25′ normal
10-15′ dwarf
 Full / Loamy May – October Many varieties will not pollinate themselves. Check for a self-pollinating version or plant two types near each other.
Peach 15 to 20′ normal
10-12′ dwarf
 Full / Sandy June –  August  Pruning plays an important role in fruit production and healthy tree growth. Check with your arborist for appropriate tips to encourage growth.
Crabapple  15 to 20′ normal
6-8′ dwarf
 Full / Acidic  May – October Normally considered a decorative tree, fruit can be sour and inedible. Fruit season varies by variety.

These are just a few examples of fruit trees that do well in our area. Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs are primarily located in the Agricultural Hardiness Zones 5b and 6a. Check your specific neighborhood before you plant any trees as this can affect how well your trees thrive and produce fruit.

Did you know that your agricultural hardiness zone can vary by year and location? Check out the Plant Hardiness Interactive Map to find out what your specific location is this year.

FRUIT TREE FERTILIZATION

Fruit tree fertilization depends on the the type of tree you have. Most young trees come with planting and fertilization instructions, but you want to consider these factors:

    • Does your fruit tree require a different species to cross-pollinate?
    • How important are bees or other agents to your pollination process?
    • Do you need to provide the tree with specific resources during pollination season, such as added nitrogen?

Make sure that you are informed about the right approach to fertilization for your trees, as this stage is critical to your tree’s productivity. Questions? We can help!

PEST MANAGEMENT

Keeping your fruit tree health and free of pests and diseases is important to its productivity and lifespan. Here is some information on pests and diseases to watch for by tree type, as well as tips for sustainable pest management.

Tree Pests Diseases
Apple Common pests include: apple maggot flies, plum curculio, and codling moth Apple trees are suceptible to apple scab.
Plum Suceptible to the plum curculios, a variety of beetle common in the US Plum tree diseases include: black knot, plum pocket plum disease, brown rot, plum pox, perennial canker, plum tree leaf spot
Peach Pests include: Oriental Fruit Moth, Peach Twig Borer, Plum Curculio, Western Flower Thrips, Spotted Wing Drosophila, Plant bugs and Stink bugs, Peach Fruit Fly, Mediterranean Fruit Fly Suceptible to bacterial spot, brown rot, peach leaf curl, peach scab, peach yellows
Crabapple Pests such as: aphids, Japanese beetles, mites, leafminer and leafroller caterpillars Suceptible to these diseases: botryosphaeria canker, fire blight, scab, cedar-apple cedar-quince, cedar-hawthorn, Japanese apple rust, frogeye leafspot

TIPS FOR PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT

    • Check your trees regularly. Early prevention and identification of pest and disease issues is key to sustainable pest management.
    • Prune according to arborist recommendations, and during the winter time. This is when it is easiest to see pest or disease issues.
    • Do not use pesticide without consulting your arborist first.

GROW A FRUIT TREE EFFICIENTLY

Whether you decide to grow a fruit tree for decorative purposes or for the fruit itself, you will have best success as an informed tree owner. Choose the right tree for your space, learn about appropriate fertilization techniques, and make sure to stay on top of pest management. We are here to support you as the tree owner! Feel free to schedule a free consultation to get great advice on how to care for your fruit trees.

Sources:

  1. http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-grow-crabapple-trees/
  2. http://www.almanac.com/blog/gardening/gardening/best-crabapples-your-yard
  3. http://www.almanac.com/plant/apples
  4. http://www.almanac.com/plant/peaches
  5. http://www.almanac.com/plant/plums
  6. http://garden.org/howtos/index.php?q=show&id=2153
  7. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/hodges/ProtectUs/presentations/peaches_arthropods.pdf
  8. http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/peach/common-peach-diseases.htm

 

Written by Marty Karner