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Old 04-14-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
veganjoy
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Default Fruit Trees

I'd like to plant some fruit trees, and I have loads of questions! We live in Colorado, zone 5, on a smallish lot with soil that drains well. I'm thinking of dwarf or semi-dwarf apples in the front (Honeycrisp + Gravenstein or Jonathan), and two more dwarf trees (peach? plum?) in the back. We already have a young plum tree, but it doesn't have a pollinator (it's supposed to be self-pollenating) and has never produced any fruit.

What should I know about planting and maintaining them? It seems like just putting them in the ground, but I'm sure I'm missing something. Do I amend the soil around the holes? Do I need a certain kind of sun exposure? Is it weird to put fruit trees in the front yard, on a lawn? We live right in the city, so I want to make use of every bit of space.

Also, there's an area in the backyard with trees planted along a fence, and two of them are ugly and sending shoots all over the yard. I'd love to take them out and replace them with fruit too, but is that just inviting squirrels to stroll over and eat it all?

I'm at the remedial level with this, so any ideas or advice--no matter how basic--would be wonderful!
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:20 AM   #2
Aerynne
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Default Re: Fruit Trees

I'm not going to be much help.

We put in an Elberta peach tree last year. It's as tall as me but not as wide as me- a small tree. So far it has flowers on it, and more branches than last year. When we bought it, the place we bought it from gave us some stuff to sprinkle on the roots so we did.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:14 AM   #3
sarahhh1
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Default Re: Fruit Trees

Pruning the apple trees is also important, I think this is the resource our local gardener recommends. http://extension.usu.edu/files/publi...ion/HG_363.pdf

I am scared to put fruit trees in our front yard, because I don't want people messing with them and stealing the fruit, and I'm also worried about the car exhaust on the fruit.

There are several nearby houses with apple trees in the front yard, though.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:13 AM   #4
Macky
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Default Re: Fruit Trees

Plum trees in the front yard are wonderfully ornamental; the flowers of all the plum trees I've ever seen are pink and the leaves are either purple or have a purplish tinge. Lots of homes have them in the front yard in the city here. I doubt anyone would think it strange. Plum trees make a HUGE mess, though, so be prepared for that (says the person who had to clean them up at her dad's house as a kid).

Sarahhh1 is spot on... pruning is the biggest deal with fruit trees. You have to open them up frequently to get good production, letting the sun through the crown. If we were to get serious about fruit trees, I would take a class to get hands-on experience because pruning trees makes me nervous. I'm always presented with pruning situations that aren't in the books and I'd love to be able to ask a professional (without having to hire one). We took out two horribly pruned apple trees when we moved here because they were irrepairable. If you're starting from scratch, a good book might be enough.

Yes, you do need to ammend the soil when you plant any tree. Ask at the greenhouse when you buy the trees. They'll know what the best ammendments are for your local soil.

(I know I sound like a broken record when I say "ask locally" all the time, but it's so important. For example, I can't follow much of the advice in garden books regarding fertilizing because of where I live. Saskatchewan is one of the largest producers of potash in the WORLD. Our soil here is naturally high (like, off the chart high) in potassium (the K in NPK when you read fertilizer labels), so I never need to add it. I also never need to add lime, as so often advised in books and articles, because our soil is so alkaline. If I do add it for other reasons, I have to balance it with sulpher. Anyway... you get my drift. Ask locally about specific ammendments. )
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fruit Trees

Amending soil for trees is actually fairly often recognized as bad practice. It can prevent the roots from stretching out and reaching down and thus can lead to a weak root system.

Here is some info:


....Amending soil impacts drainage. Amended soil often dries out faster in dry times and stays wetter in moist times, compared to native soil. Also, some studies indicate the possibility of a more congested root system being formed in amended soils due to multiple factors. Amending backfill soil has not been shown to be beneficial in any modern scientific study I have ever seen. Multiple studies have shown it to be of no benefit or to be detrimental in various soil types from pure sand to pure clay.
If you want to amend the soil, do so sparingly.

The Myth of Soil Amendments (from sustainablehorticulture.com) The Myth of Soil Amendments (by Linda Chalker-Scott)
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
Macky
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Default Re: Fruit Trees

Why would it be such a common practice with trees, roses, etc. if it did no good? I'm talking about ammending the native soil, by the way (handful of bonemeal for a rose, for example), not adding heaps of new stuff to the hole. When we ammend planting holes, it's always done lower than the root ball, too (add ammendment, fill with some soil, install plant, fill hole).
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