We bought a home a couple years ago. It’s so nice to get away from renting and be able to do what we want with the property – especially the garden. The very first thing we added to the garden was bare-root fruit trees.
Bare-root fruit trees have a lot of advantages. They’re cheaper than potted fruit trees. They’re much easier to bring home from the nursery. Nurseries often carry a larger variety of bare-root fruit trees because they take up less room, so you have more varieties to choose from.
The disadvantages include that bare-root trees might be a little slower to start bearing fruit. They may need more time to get established. Nurseries don’t carry them all year long in most places, because you must plant a bare-root tree while it is dormant.
The house we bought had no fruit trees or vegetable garden – only grass and decorative plants. Completely not what we want, although pretty enough. If I water it, I want it to fulfill a purpose, beyond just looking good. Some things we plant for the bees, birds and butterflies, some things we plant for food. Fruit trees were an easy choice to start things out.
Add Trees Early To Your Garden
If you want to grow fruit trees in your garden, they should be added early on. They take time to get established, but once they’re established, you only have to maintain them. They’ll last for many years.
The wonderful part about fruit trees is that they’re relatively easy to get started. When you’re new to a property, planting fruit trees is much easier than getting an entirely new garden started.
We followed the advice on the Dave Wilson website when planting our trees. We did two groups of trees – one group of four, and one of three. Trees that need to cross pollinate were put near each other.
Some of our trees produced a little this year, their second in the ground. We limited their production because they’re still young trees. And as often happens, some branches had too much fruit and had to be thinned anyhow to keep the branches from breaking.
Pick The Right Trees
Make sure you consider the needs of each tree, as well as when they produce when selecting your fruit trees. Cross pollination is vital for many fruit tree varieties. If you neglect that aspect and some neighbor doesn’t happen to have a compatible tree, you won’t get fruit from it.
You also want to consider when fruit ripens for each tree. You don’t want all of your fruit ripening at the same time, most likely. It’s much better to have your fruit ripen over time.
Where you live matters too. Some fruit trees need a certain amount of time below certain temperatures, or they just won’t produce. Talk to your nursery if you aren’t certain about what grows well where you live.
Also consider the space you need. Many varieties can be pruned to a smaller size, so that they’re easier to care for and harvest. The Dave Wilson site has tips on high density planting, which allows you to grow more fruit trees in a smaller space. This can be nice even if you have a lot of room in your yard.
And of course, consider what you’d like to grow. It’s always nice to grow particular favorites on your own trees. Home grown fruit always tastes better than the stuff you get at the grocery store.
One important thing to understand about fruit trees is that they won’t produce right away. Some will make you wait for years until they are mature enough to bear fruit after you’ve transplanted them.
While many will get going 2-3 years after you plant them, some take up to seven years before they can produce. We’re looking at that possibility with our cherry trees, although that’s the high end of the wait. I hope it will be on the lower side.
If you’re concerned that your fruit trees aren’t producing, check this table from Stark Bro’s Nursery. It can be quite reassuring to see that the delay you’re seeing is normal for your tree.