Fruit Trees

By pjain      Published June 29, 2021, 2:21 a.m. in blog Startups   

High Yielding Fruit Trees by Seasonal Varieties

Buying Fruit Trees

Invest in multi-year (2-7) larger fruit trees ~ $35 and aside.

Given the size of the trees and their healthy condition I consider that very reasonable.

-Five foot nectarine trees in a pot live already blossoming for $35.99 @Costco but that is also close to the price local nurseries charge. A good deal would be less than $20.

Here in the Bay Area, some of the nurseries can get real expensive real quick Cupertino nurseries in Jun'21 were charging $86 for #5 container trees, and double that for #10 potted trees.

Costco

Costco sells many varieties of bare roots at $17 but in Jan and Feb.

Not all varieties are sold at all Costcos - they tend to pick the local climate appropriate.

The price & quality is WAY better than that of Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Costco will start carrying all the gardening items in Spring from Jan-Apr, so make sure to buy an item if you like it.

Optimizing Planting, Grow Time

Dwarf or Full Size Trees

You should always call the Nursery to confirm as full size trees can take a LONG time to fruit.

I think each tree has a height & width associated with them. If I remember correctly, they are NOT dwarf. They are either semi-dwarf or full grown. Depends on the rootstock of the original.

Tips for Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees

In most cases, growing dwarf fruit trees is part of the solution if you want fast-growing trees. These trees reach a height of 10 feet or less, in general, but some can be as small as three feet at full maturity. Despite their smaller size, their fruit is normal-sized, so you aren’t ripped off getting tiny apples.

Size of Initial Tree - Fruiting Time

Invest in multi-year (2-7) larger fruit trees ~ $35 and aside.

Always Look at Chill Hours

Some fruit trees need a specific number of days when the temperatures are at or below 45℉ every winter into spring. This period ends their dormancy, encouraging the tree to flower and start the process of bearing fruit. If you live somewhere warm, such as Texas, you might want a try with low-chill hours required.

Know Their Heat Tolerance

What type of weather does the tree prefer? Apples need cool nights and warm days. Peaches prefer long, hot summers, but cherries prefer a cooler climate. You need to make sure the fruit tree you select can handle the average summer heat for your area.

Pollination

Trees that require a pollinator will produce no crop at all. Some trees need to have a second tree nearby for cross-pollination. You don’t always need to have two of the same varieties, but you do need to purchase two trees at once.

Other trees self-pollinate ie these trees can develop fruit through self-pollination.

So, you have to make sure that you don’t buy the same type of trees that require cross-pollination. You will be disappointed in the end. However, most Costco trees are self-pollinated, which is a huge benefit.

PLANTING - Dig A Deep Enough Hole

Digging a hole that is deep enough for your tree is essential. The hole should be 12-18 inches deep and wide, at minimum. Also, make sure that you pick an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. When you put the tree into the hole, make sure the grafted joint stays two inches above the soil. The joint should be visible at the base of the tree.

Don’t Overwater

Trees need and love water, but dwarf fruit trees don’t need or want to be overwatered. This tip is especially true if you’re growing your tree in a container. Watering once or twice per week is sufficient. If you encounter a hot, dry week in the summer, you might need to add a third watering, but that shouldn’t be all of the time.

Make Sure to Feed Your Tree

Feeding your tree is an important step not to forget. Add compost around your tree once or twice a year. Try watering it with compost tea and using supplements for the soil. Feeding your tree is particularly important if you’re growing trees in containers.

Bare Roots

Costco and nurseries sell many varieties of bare roots at $17 but in Jan and Feb.

Almost all of the fruit trees are grafted onto a rootstock. So, you should research the tree size that will fit in your available space. Also, you have to buy rootstock accordingly.

Packaged Roots System with tall growth are good deals

Also instead of buying a "heavy potted" one for "wholesale" - they have the root stem in a package. But while you could obviously save yourself a few bucks by buying this packaged tree, but if you don’t already have a pot and soil, you may actually spend more than just buying the potted one.

Five foot nectarine trees in a pot live already blossoming for $35.99 @Costco but that is also close to the price local nurseries charge. A good deal would be less than $20. Cupertino nurseries in Jun'21 were charging $86 for #5 container trees, and double that for #10 potted trees.

The mulch in which tree is packed to keep roots moist sometimes have a smell that shouldn’t be too strong though. If it is, it might be a good idea to give it some fresh soil. These bags have been sitting there for days, maybe weeks so I can understand if there is a slight smell to them upon opening.

TIME TO PLANT? I have never really had an issue leaving them in the bag for a few days. You want to make sure the bag is damp & that you store it in a cold location. Leave it outside or in the garage away from the sun. This will help keep the tree dormant.

Raise size of Fruit trees and Bare-Roots Medium Containers

Pick The Right Container Size

You CAN grow dwarf fruit trees in containers, but you need to make sure you have the right container size. Look for a 15-20 gallon container with holes for drainage at the bottom of the pot. Consider adding rocks at the bottom of the container to help with drainage.

An idea if you don’t have space on your property for all these trees is to buy cheaper fruit trees and put them in Medium Containers of 5-10 gallons.

So make sure to pick up a bag of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix 50 Quart. It should be located right next to the fruit trees.

You can "store" for several years avocado trees, lemon trees & apple trees in pots for many years as they get taller.

They will all do well & by moving in cover can survive some frost.

Pruning Fruit Trees to Keep it Small

Pruning 101

Different fruit trees exhibit different growth patterns. So, you should prune them accordingly.

For instance, peach trees need three to four major branches whereas plum trees have a more erect growth pattern. Moreover, you should start pruning at an early stage of tree growth to avoid problems later on.

Today most homes are situated on a smaller parcel of land with limited area for planting. Due to limited space, gardeners need to realize how to maximize their area so they can get the most out of it. If you live on a smaller parcel of land and want to grow your favorite fruit tree and think you just have room for one, you need to think twice because by size managing your fruit trees you discover that in reality you can plant multiple trees. Imagine a Plum tree that is over 15 feet tall or an Apricot tree that is 30 plus feet high, in most cases for the typical homeowner this is too big and takes up too much space.

Did you know that it is possible to have a fruit tree that is over 15 years old and be only 5 or 6 feet tall and be loaded with fruit? How does one accomplish this? The answer is by summer pruning, read on and I will explain. Let’s say you go into a nursery and you want to buy a semi-dwarf Nectarine. A semi-dwarf fruit tree will get close to 15-20 feet tall while a standard size fruit tree may get over 30 feet high.

Do not think of a semi-dwarf Peach, Apricot, Cherry, Nectarine, ect. in terms of size management. The only way to keep them small is by pruning. Pruning is critical in developing a smaller size. As intimidating as it may be, do not let the ultimate size of the tree discourage you from not keeping it small to suit your needs. Keeping your trees small has many advantages: It is easier to harvest the fruit because it is at a lower picking height. Smaller trees offer ease of care, spraying, pruning, and thinning.

The secret to keeping fruit trees to a height that is convenient for you is by pruning. Think of a height you want to keep it at and don’t let it go beyond that goal, if it does, you prune it off. You can keep fruit trees to any desired height whether it is a semi-dwarf or standard size tree by size management. Prune to the size that best suits your needs. If you want it low, prune more, if you want it really high, prune less. The tree height is the decision of the pruner. Whenever there are vigorous shoots above the chosen height, cut back or remove them. The growth you prune off will never become fruiting wood, that wood already formed earlier. I will provide you tips and tricks on how you can keep your fruit tree small.

For new bareroot fruit trees or dormant trees in containers at planting time, if you choose, they can be topped as low as 15 inches (or whatever height you elect) above the ground to force low branching. Trees may also be topped higher than 15 inches (up to four feet) depending on the presence of well-spaced side limbs or desired tree form. After the spring flush of growth cut the new growth back by half. In late summer cut the subsequent growth back by half. Size control and development of low fruiting wood begins in the first year.

If you have a large stem caliper fruit tree (3/4 inches up), they sometimes do not push new limbs from low on the trunk. They should be topped higher initially, just above any existing lower limbs or at about 28 inches if no lower limbs are present. Once new growth has begun, height may be reduced further.

During the second and subsequent years, cut back new growth by half in spring and late summer, same as the first year. Pruning 2-3 times, spring, early summer and late summer is the easiest way to manage height. When pruning, be careful not to cut too much at one time, as this might cause excess sun exposure and sunburn to the unprotected interior limbs.

When removing large limbs, first saw part way through the limb on the underside ahead of your intended cut. Do this so it won’t tear the trunk as it comes off. Also, don’t make the final cut flush with the trunk or parent limb; be sure to leave a short stub.

What If you have an old, large tree that is too unruly and want to make it smaller so it is easier to manage and pick the fruit. If the tree is taller than 20 feet and you feel unsafe on a ladder, or the job is just bigger than you want to take on, call a professional arborist. If the tree is older than 20 years, this can be a mistake; the results simply might not be worth the time and effort.

Some old trees are beyond their peak productive years and the trauma of a drastic reduction in size could make them more susceptible to other problems. Consult a professional arborist if this is a concern. If you love the fruit and choose to keep the aging tree, it is essential to maintain its health – the right amount of watering, pruning out diseased limbs, etc. Otherwise, have the tree removed and replace it with a new one, a great-tasting variety of your choice. If you must prune, bring the tree down in stages over a three-year period. Begin by reducing the tree height by one-third in the first winter. This will stimulate limb development below the cuts. In spring, when the tree is flush with growth, you would cut just below the winter cuts, removing the uppermost spring flush. This will redirect the growth, stimulating lower limb development. The following winter, half of the remaining excess canopy height comes off. Again, in the spring, the resulting uppermost spring growth is removed. Do not remove limbs that are forming lower in the canopy; these may be used as scaffold limbs. In the third winter, you would make a final determination of canopy and tree height, and prune accordingly.

Trees need sun space - can't sit under larger trees!

A large-sized tree can hamper the growth of nearby small plants if there isn’t enough space.

High Producing Varieties

Pears

Depending on the variety that you select, they can be found in USDA zones 4-9. These trees can grow up to 20 feet high, producing lovely white blossoms before turning to fruit.

Bartlett Pear

– Large, yellow-green skin, juicy, sweet, white flesh, harvest July – August, cold hardy to USDA Zone 5

Peach - fast growing

Peach trees are fun to grow and are one of the fastest choices, and while peaches and nectarines aren’t the same fruit, they do have similar growing needs. So, if you end up growing and loving peaches, give nectarines a try.

Peach trees dislike soggy roots, so you need to be sure that you plant them in an area that has good drainage. Also, you’ll need to plant two peach trees to produce fruit, but some varieties are self-fertile. Make sure you pick two different types of trees that will bloom at the same time. They need to cross-pollinate.

Most peach tree takes three years to fruit, but it’s dependent on how well you take care of the trees.

Early Elberta Peach – Large, yellow skin with red blush, yellow, rich, sweet flesh, harvest July, cold hardy to USDA zone 7

Veteran Peach Dwarf

– Medium, golden yellow skin with red blush, yellow, sweet, flesh, self-fertile, ripens August – September, cold hardy to USDA zone 5 – 9

Mulberry trees

Mulberry trees produce after one year if you start with a grafted tree. You’ll be amazed by how fast these trees can grow, typically 2.5 feet per year. The only problem with mulberries is that volunteer trees tend to pop up all over your property.

Mulberry trees can produce for decades. A three-year-old tree can reach 12 feet tall, at a minimum. That’s impressive! Also, mulberry trees are heavy producers, so you can expect them to produce abundant harvests once the trees are well-established.

Plum Trees - Yield Massively

Plum trees do not produce fruit every year. The most common reason for a lack of fruit on a plum tree is that it has not matured to the point where it can produce fruit.

Even after reaching maturity, a plum tree may fail to produce fruit for a number of reasons, including:

excessive fruit production last year – the tree used up too much energy to produce fruit last year. too much wood production – the tree spent all of its energy to produce more growth in the form of wood. This is often caused by over pruning or over fertilizing. The upside is that this can lead to more fruit in later years. frost damage – warm weather in late winter (false spring) can trick plum trees into flowering too early. A late spring frost can kill the flowers that appear, causing a complete lack of fruit that year.

A plum tree will produce fruit 3 to 6 years after planting (sooner if you buy more mature trees!). Plum trees produce fruit between June and September, after blooming in late winter to early spring. Dwarf varieties can produce fruit a year sooner (2 to 5 years after planting). Plum trees produce more fruit as they grow large enough to support the extra weight.

Pomegranate

Wonderful Pomegranate – Blush red skin, sharp rich juicy flesh, harvest in October, cold hardy to USDA zone 9

Nectarines

-Five foot nectarine trees in a pot live already blossoming for $35.99 @Costco but that is also close to the price local nurseries charge. A good deal would be less than $20. Cupertino nurseries in Jun'21 were charging $86 for #5 container trees, and double that for #10 potted trees.

Citrus Varieties

Growing citrus trees is highly dependent on your climate and where you live. Typically, lemon and orange trees need to be planted in USDA zones nine and higher because they’re incapable of handling frosts. So, that means most people are unable to grow citrus fruits outside.

You can grow citrus trees indoors, such as Meyer lemons and Satsuma oranges. The best varieties for containers are dwarf trees, and you bring them inside when they go dormant.

Unlike peach trees, citrus fruit trees are self-pollinating, so you only need one tree to produce the fruit. Typically, they start producing fruit the year after they’re planted but are fully producing by three years.

Your growing zone should stay above 55 F most of year. - Growing Zone Maps - Citrus.com

Plant your citrus tree in a part of your yard that receives max sun (at least 6 hours per day) for the best, most prolific harvest.

If the roots appear to be tangled or growing together in circles, score them a bit with a knife to untangle before planting. Dig a hole for planting that's a little more shallow than the root ball itself and about twice as wide as the root ball. This allows the upper surface of the root ball to sit just above the ground soil so it can absorb water well. No need to top things off with a special planting mix; just fill the hole with regular native soil (like the kind you just dug up from the ground), and leave no air pockets surrounding the roots. Apply mulch or compost around the surface of the tree once it's planted. Immediately after planting, water the roots. Water often so the root ball doesn't dry out. Try a finger test to check for moisture.

Costco is selling 3 ½-gallon pots of Lisbon Lemon, Mandarin, Red Grapefruit and Moro Blood Orange for just $25.99 each. While the pots may be "smaller" trees are VERY tall!

Orange Trees

Mandarins

Mandarins are another citrus type fruit, but it’s much easier to grow than traditional oranges or lemons. Kids love mandarins; they’re a popular snack, and you can find several dwarf varieties for different climates. You will need to grow them in containers to bring the trees in and out of your home or heated greenhouse.

You can grow mandarin trees from seed quite easily, but it will take seven years to produce a harvest. Grafted trees create a yield two to three years after planting.

Wherever you plan to grow your mandarin tree, be sure that it receives 5-6 hours of sunlight each day, and you provide it with slightly acidic soil. Something that you’ll like is that these plants don’t require pruning to produce so that you can take that off of your to-do list.

Worthy Varieties

Avocado

For summer Costco is selling avocado trees! They cost around $80.00 and that's a great deal for an avocado tree since most cost over $100! According to Costco, these trees need full sunlight and regular watering with drainage. They are around 2.5 feet when shipped and grow to be around 25-35 feet. So make sure you have room to plant one before purchasing!

Medium Large

Cherry - TALL trees

Some varieties, such as black cherries, grow three feet each season, eventually reaching 50 feet in height. Black cherries grow in USDA zones 3 to 9. You’ll love their show of white flowers in the spring, and by the summer, the trees are full of cherries.

Rainier Cherry

– Medium to large, yellow skin with red blush, superb flavor, cold hardy to USDA zone 5

Apricot trees

Not all apricot trees grow as quickly as other ones. Two apricot varieties, in particular, grow fast – the “Moorpark” and the “Early Golden.” Both of these varieties grow well in USDA zones 5 to 8, producing white or pink blossoms that turn into delicious, flavorful fruit.

Fig trees

Fig trees produce quickly and are easy to grow. These trees prefer warm weather, so you need to plant them in a container and bring them inside when cold weather strikes.

You only need to have one fig tree to produce, and it only takes two years to get fruit. Figs are self-fertile, so you don’t need to wait for them to flower. They just produce fruit.

When left in the ground rather than brought indoors and outdoors with a container, fig trees can reach up to 30 feet tall within five years. That doesn’t mean you need to wait until you have a large tree. Our small three-foot fig tree produces plenty each year.

Figs are growing in popularity, so you can find many different types of figs available. You can easily find one that is well-adapted to your climate zone.

Exotic Trees - Tropical - Hard to find

Mango

Guava

Avocado

Olives

Apple Dwarf and Medium Size Trees - Tall and Slow to Yield

To grow apple trees, you need to be in an area that has some cold weather, which is known as chill hours. Also, apple trees need another tree to cross-pollinate to produce fruit. Otherwise, you’ll have lovely trees without any apples.

If you live in a region that has a milder climate, be sure to take a look for tree varieties that require low chill hours.

Apple Dwarfs

  • ? Too big , a comice pear

I bought a grafted apple and cherry tree from Costco. They were on sale for $15.99 per tree. The apple tree will grow four types of apples (honey crisp, early fugi, liberty and chehalis) and the cherry tree will grow at least three types of cherries (bing, rainier, sweetheart, lapins or benton). I planted them in my front yard and covered them with a foot of woodchips.

Gala Apple

– Yellow-red striped skin, crisp, juicy, sweet flesh, ripens in August, cold hardy to USDA zone 4 – 10

Honeycrisp Apple

– Red with yellow background skin, sweet/tart flavor akin to watermelon, ripens late September, white flesh with excellent flavor. Matures to 20′ tall, cold hardy to USDA zone 5

Pink Lady Apple

– Medium, yellow skin blushing to pink tart to sweet, ripens late October, cold hardy to USDA zones 5 – 8

HUGE Trees

Black Walnut

– Large and well sealed, ripens October, self-fertile, cold hardy to USDA zone 5 – 9 - Costco


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