For those who have the itch to get out and play in the dirt you can utilize the rainy weather to plan for what is ahead. Many garden to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Well now is the time to be taking to proper steps if you plan to plant fruit trees in your garden this year. Many gardeners often find trouble with growing fruit often because some of the cardinal rules are ignored.
Site selection should be paired with cultivar/varietal selection for all plant materials. Once you have the requirements for optimal tree growth such as full sun and well-drained soil you are able to select a location for planting. Consider checking with your local extension office or nurseries to see what kinds of disease and insect injuries that the particular variety you are interested in. Publication 736 is very helpful in identifying disease and insect problems as well as guiding you through spray scheduling for apples and pears. Keep in mind that most fruit trees are labor intensive with pruning, fertilizing and spraying. You have to be able to stay ahead of the work in order to reap the benefits. The number of trees should closely reflect the amount of time and effort you will be able to invest.
So remember a few key points in regards to growing your own fruit. Start by choosing a cultivar/variety that fits your plan. Choose a well-drained site preferably on a north facing slope to reduce the likely of losing blooms to an early spring freeze by delaying spring warm up. Fruit trees are offered sold as bareroot, rootball, or in some form of a pot. When transplanting these into the ground make sure that an appropriate sized hole is dug. Often times bareroot trees are cheaper whereas potted plants are more expensive but in many cases offer the best survivability. When digging the hole for the tree make sure that the hole is as deep as the pot but twice as wide as the pot allowing loose backfill dirt to provide room for feeder roots. When planting a bareroot tree it is sometimes necessary to leave a small crown of dirt in the bottom of the hole for support of the roots. The depth of the hole should only as deep as the soil in the pot or the roots on the bareroot stock. This will make sure that the plant will not settle too deep. For more information contact your local extension office and ask for a copy of Publication 966 for information of selection of your fruit trees.