Fruit Tree Care and Considerations

Fruit Tree Care and Considerations

Pollination:

Fruit trees are either self-fertile, meaning no pollinator is required, OR they will require a pollinator. This means that you must plant at least two different varieties that bloom at approximately the same time so that cross-pollination will occur. Trees for pollinators should be placed within 100 feet of each other. Also, the more bees you can attract to your yard, the better your harvest!

General Care:

Fruit trees require a bit more care than your average ornamental tree. All fruit trees will benefit from a full sun location and well drained soil. Make sure you amend your soil at planting time and top dress with organic matter each year (compost, aged manure). Fertilize your tree each spring. Pruning and thinning of fruit will be necessary tasks to maintain your tree. Colorado State University Extension has great research-based information for fruit trees that addresses pruning, fertilizing and pests. Go to www.ext.colostate.edu/ and type in 'fruit trees.'

Pests and Wildlife Challenges:

Pests and wildlife may like your fruit as much as you do! A good organic practice is to spray a dormant oil in early spring before your tree is actively growing. It basically smothers overwintered eggs on your tree. This practice can go a long way to preventing infestations. We've also had feedback that diatomaceous earth spread at the base of your tree has had good results in controlling crawling pests that go from the ground up (Natural Guard Climbing Insect Control). You must re-apply after rain.

Depending on the type of fruit tree you grow, you may need to spray for pests during the season as well. This is often done at fruit set. If worms become a problem, we carry organic sprays that contain bacillus thurengiensis (Bt). We've also heard that planting onions or garlic beneath your tree helps repel moths that lay eggs for future worms.

Birds and squirrels may also like to snack on your fruit. We carry special fruit tree netting to help put a barrier between wildlife and your crop.

Colorado's Spring Freezes:

Late freezes during a typical Colorado spring are common. While we strive to offer you fruit tree varieties that do well in this area, know that peaches, nectarines, and pears are early bloomers and may get nipped in the bud by these late freezes. This means that some years you will have a bumper crop—and other years frost may claim those early blossoms.  Those in higher elevations (Monument, Black Forest, Falcon) should plant more cold hardy zone 3 or 4 fruit trees. Those in more protected locations in town might also be able to grow zone 5 trees.

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