CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLANTING LOCATION FOR YOUR FRUIT TREES
Planting fruit trees in the right location is as important as choosing a variety that will survive in your area of the country. Growing your own fruit at home is a great family activity, but careful planning is necessary.
After deciding on the variety of tree you want to plant, you need to get out the tape measure and see if you have enough room to plant it. Squeezing a tree into a tiny spot because it seemed so small when you first brought it home from the garden store is a recipe for disappointment. Digging up a young tree and trying to transplant it is going to be way more exercise than you think.
GIVE IT ROOM!
Always allow at least a few extra feet of space between trees when you dig your planting holes. A tree might grow larger than expected depending on the type of rootstock it is grafted on. Plus, some trees will grow more vigorously in soil that they happen to like. Constant sawing and pruning of an overgrown tree gets real old in a hurry!
Don’t crowd when space is limited! Deciding on the fruit trees you want the most and eliminating the rest may be necessary. You are not just planning for the amount of “head room” the trees need for the branches to spread out. You need to consider how the roots will compete for the nutrients and moisture in the soil, and how this will impact the growth of nearby plants, especially in time of drought.
PROVIDING SUNLIGHT AND AIR CIRCULATION
Planting long rows of fruit trees from north to south makes the best use of sunlight. Just don’t plant the rows too close together or you’ll create far too much shade and inhibit air circulation. If you must plant a row of trees from east to west, give them at least half again as much space between each tree so they will have more light.
CHECKING OUT THE VISTA
When you decide where to plant your trees, place markers (or flags) where you intend to dig the planting holes. This is not only to make sure your line of trees is straight, but also to evaluate how the trees will appear in the landscape when fully grown. Stand where each tree is to be planted and look in all directions. No one wants to block the view of something important, like a flower bed or water feature, with a large tree.
PLANTING A PRIVACY SCREEN
Conversely, a fast growing tree can be planted to block the window view of a nosy neighbor. “I’ll fix that!” said my Aunt when the gal across the street inquired who her visitor was that she saw emerging from her bathroom. Whether planting a privacy screen, or a long row of fruit trees, make sure that you don’t dig into a telephone, water, sewer, electrical, or gas line. Always call these companies before you dig.
USING FRUIT TREES AS ORNAMENTALS
Fruit trees are very ornamental additions to your property. White pear blossoms; pink cherry, peach, and plum blossoms; red or pink quince blossoms; and pale pink and white apple blossoms remind me of prom dresses. They bloom at about the same time as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, and some types of flowering shrubs. The beautiful shape of the leaves will make the trees stand out in the landscape.
Some people plant a dwarf fruit tree within their flower border. This idea appealed to me till I thought of the mess that removing fallen fruit from the middle of a flower bed would be. If a tree died, you’d have to disturb many flowering plants when removing it. Instead, it can be pruned back and used for a support for a tall climbing rose or grape vine.
PLAN YOUR PROJECT
Plan your project ahead of time. Don’t make a last minute decision on a planting location. A fruit tree is a long-term investment in both food and beauty. It also should help the value of your property if you choose your planting location wisely.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan