Cherries, apples, pears… What a joy it is to harvest the fruits from your own garden! Fall is the perfect season for planting fruit trees.
Full-blown orchard, small garden or just a deck or balcony? Rest assured! You’re certain to find the fruit tree variety that will meet your particular configuration!
How to choose your fruit tree
The absolute best way to choose the perfect fruit tree: taste its fruits! Feel free to ask the storekeeper. If you’re not allowed to do so, gather information about the harvest dates, how the fruits can be preserved or used, how long they’ll keep and what they taste like!
The best option is often to go for local cultivars that are perfectly suited to your area’s soil and climate, but if you’re in doubt, select a hardy variety that will settle most anywhere, such as the ‘Golden Delicious’ for apple trees and the ‘Beurré Hardy‘ for pear tree. Peach tree and apricot tree generally require the warmth that is often found in the South, but the ‘Gros Peche de Nancy’ and ‘Bergeron’ varieties are planted in places where it freezes occasionally.
Fruit tree requirements
They all love well drained soil, with a preference for rich growing soil for the apple tree and pear tree, light soil for the peach tree, cherry tree and apricot tree – and these two last ones cope well with rocky and chalky soil.
Select two different varieties of each fruit type to ensure cross-pollination.
If you’re only going to plant a single tree, opt for a self-pollinating tree.
Shaped trees, dwarf trees, trees for a lattice…
Since they don’t have a very large footprint, trees that are shaped to grow along a lattice are perfect for small gardens.
Dwarf fruit trees that never grow any taller than 5?feet (1.5?meters) even when mature can be grown in garden boxes on a balcony. Don’t worry – their fruits are normal-sized!
Shaped fruit trees are trees that are already several seasons old, which ensures they’ll bear fruit quickly, often even the first year after planting. They also don’t require as much care, so they’re great for beginners!
Planting a fruit tree
Plant your fruit tree at the end of fall – this enhances root development – in a hole twice a wide and deep as the root clump itself. Drive any stakes or espalier lattice in the ground before planting the tree. Treat the roots with root dip, add a few handfuls of ripe compost and water abundantly to press the soil down.
The graft joint must be set just above soil level.
Mulch and water in case of dry spells over the two first years.