There is nothing as satisfying as plucking fresh fruits from your backyard. If your compound has some space, you may want to plant fruit trees. A fruit tree may take anywhere between 2 to 8 years before bearing the first fruits. This is quite a long time of waiting before you start enjoying the harvest from your garden.
However, taking proper care of your fruit tree will lead to a bountiful harvest for decades. Your fruit tree will benefit greatly from proper planting and routine care. Here are five tips on fruit tree maintenance that will warrant years of maximum yield.
1. Give Proper Care to Your Fruit Tree
That moment you bring your fruit tree and plant it in your garden is the most crucial. The fruit tree may take the first few years to be established fully. Therefore, you should provide proper care from the beginning. The care provided to your fruit tree from the start will affect its shape and yield. Besides, its strength and lifespan will also depend on the care given.
The best start for your fruit tree is watering it regularly as required. Watering ensures the soil is kept moist to a required depth where the roots of fruit trees extend. You may need a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level. This will help determine the amount and frequency you will need to irrigate your fruit tree.
2. Apply Mulch and Fertilizer
Mulching around the base of your young fruit tree is crucial. Apart from moderating the soil temperatures and moisture, it also chocks weeds. In addition, a mulch of the right kind of organic matter will boost soil biodiversity hence improving fertility. As a result, this promotes the growth of roots, thereby keeping your fruit tree healthy. Mulch should be applied some distance from the tree’s bark to avoid rotting.
Again, you should use the right fertilizer at different growth stages. The use of particular fertilizer formulations enables your fruit tree to get its requirements. In the first three years, you should apply more nitrogenous fertilizer. This will ensure your fruit tree attains mature height and vigorous foliage growth.
You can switch to a fertilizer with more phosphorous and potassium on reaching the desired size. Such a fertilizer will promote the development of roots, flowers and fruit. Eventually, the use of the right quality fertilizer will give your tree a lush canopy and ample harvest.
3. Prune Your Fruit Tree
Through pruning, you will attain the right size of your fruit tree. Also, pruning will help shape your fruit tree. So, the tree is opened at the center for sunlight penetration and free circulation of air. More importantly, most fruit trees require regular pruning to ensure the best fruit yield.
According to the New York Times, it is prudent to prune your fruit tree during winter or early spring. This is when the tree is likely to be dormant and the best time for pruning. However, you can prune the tree whenever it’s damaged by weather or pests. Pruning at the wrong time usually weakens the tree and can negatively affect fruit production. Heavy pruning is also detrimental to fruit production. You can get advice from local experts in your area if you are unsure of proper pruning timing.
Furthermore, pruning is of different types and cuts depending on fruit variety. Again, the pruning requirements of a fruit tree changes with the tree’s age. For instance, you may prune younger fruit trees to develop strong angles. On the other hand, you can prune older ones to thin out branches. Ultimately, pruning helps to stimulate new fruiting wood to remove dead and diseased parts.
4. Spread the Branches and Train Young Fruit Trees
If you want your young trees to develop strong branches, you will need to encourage the spreading of branches. Branches that have wide-angle attachment are much stronger than narrow-angled branches. You can slowly force narrow-angled branches apart by placing wooden spreaders in between.
On the other hand, training helps to expose foliage to sunlight. This is essential for the tree to make enough food for growth and fruit production. In the end, proper control of the positioning of side branches will ensure healthier trees with quality fruit.
5. Treat Fruit Tree for Pests and Diseases
You should take necessary precautions against the infestation of your trees by pests. The remedies you will take may be specific to the type of fruit tree. So, you may need to seek advice from your local extension officer. You should always be one step ahead by identifying and promptly treating any diseases and pests. However, you can prevent most of the problems by maintaining good practices. Such practices include regular weeding and cleaning debris around the tree. Especially lemon tree pests are common, but easy to handle.
Fruit trees have certain requirements to thrive well. Thus, you’ll have to research to determine the trees that do well in your area. One of the biggest considerations is the soil. Fruit trees generally need moderately rich and well-drained soil. Additionally, fruit trees may need enough open areas with plenty of sunshine.