How to raise organic fruit trees

How to raise organic fruit trees

They do not always have what I want. But when they do they are my first pick. This coop has never let me down in many, many years. Constantinos Avgeris wrote: Where can I get fruit tree seeds to grow?

Content:
  • The Secret Life of Fruit: Moving Beyond Organic
  • Think Twice, Plant Once: Does a Tree Fruit Orchard Make Sense for Your Farm?
  • How to Grow Organic Fruit
  • All About Growing Fruit Trees
  • Growing organic apples with fruit bagging: The Experiment
  • Complete guide to dwarf & miniature fruit trees
  • How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease
  • Organic Production
  • The Benefits Of Growing Fruit Trees
  • Organic treatments for your fruit trees
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Plant Fruit Trees for MAXIMUM Growth and Harvest

The Secret Life of Fruit: Moving Beyond Organic

Do you grow fruit? Lee Reich. Lee has written several books on gardening, and two are specific to fruit growing — Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden and Grow Fruit Naturally.

One of the things I love about this ever-curious gardener is that he bases his approach to growing on science, but he is constantly exploring ways to expand beyond the traditional to grow what he loves in new ways. After all, fruit and berry producing plants are perennials, so they require a greater investment of space and time to mature and bear.

Gardeners also shy away from growing fruit, out of concern that pests and diseases will be a bigger problem on fruit-bearing plants. These are each legitimate issues, but like all garden challenges, you just need to understand your options to find the right solution.

Lee is no stranger to garden challenges. He lives 90 miles north of New York City in zone 5. Aside from cold winters typical of the area, his garden is situated in a valley.

Cold air sinks to low spaces, so the temperature at his home tends to be five degrees cooler than the rest of the region. That cool air also releases more moisture onto his trees and shrubs, which puts everything in his garden at greater risk of disease.

So, how does Lee overcome the obstacles of location? With good management practices — like focusing on healthy soil and purchasing and placing plants wisely — and a lot of determination. Oftentimes when we think fruit, we think orchard. Who has space to grow an orchard? The truth is, fruit trees and berries can be integrated into the landscape and ornamental plantings just like any tree or shrub.

An orchard — even a small orchard — would produce far more than most home gardeners would be able to consume. A small tree can produce a good yield, so one or two trees and a few vines or berry-producing plants can be plenty for most gardeners to handle. If a small tree would be better-suited to the space you have available, consider looking for dwarf or even miniature varieties.

Many species of fruit are available as dwarf or miniature and are several feet shorter than a standard variety. These smaller varieties are produced by grafting stem of the desired fruit, like a MacIntosh apple, onto the rootstock of a naturally shorter apple variety. The stem cutting, known as the scion determines the production of the fruit, but the rootstock determines the overall natural growth size. Take the time to research your options and understand what you are buying. Consider the bonsai, which are nearly always grown in a container.

Bonsai are carefully pruned to remain very small. Although a bonsai tree may be one hundred years old or more, it can be pruned to remain just a few feet high. The point is that with good pruning, nearly any tree can be kept to a manageable size to fit your space. Just one of these apple trees incorporated into your landscape will provide a bountiful yield.

Just as with vegetable gardening, one of the best ways to manage those threats on fruit-bearing plants is to understand which pests and diseases are most common in your area. Some fruit trees are naturally resistant to pests in general. Lee gardens in an area plagued by a number of insect pest issues. So, he grows American persimmon, in part, because it inherently attracts few pests.

He also grows Liberty apples, because that variety is resistant to a number of diseases common in his region.

Not surprisingly, Lee includes a great list in his book detailing which varieties are resistant to various pests and diseases, so check that out. Do you enjoy pears? Well, pear trees are one of the easiest to grow and the least likely to suffer from pest or disease problems. Berry-producing plants have fewer pest and disease issues overall, and they are often easier to grow than fruit trees.

Most fruit trees are the product of grafting. A shoot from the desired fruit variety is grafted to the trunk of another variety to take advantage of the size, resilience and other qualities provided by the rootstock. Putting the right plant in the right place is just as true when it comes to growing fruit.

Know your area. Become familiar with the issues common to your region, so you can purchase plants equipped for the resiliency necessary to your space. Nearly all fruit-bearing trees and shrubs require several hours of direct sun and soil with good drainage. Place the plant where it will receive good light and drainage, and it will be more likely to thrive and produce. Plus — healthier trees and shrubs are less apt to fall victim to disease or pest attack.

Lee and I both garden organically. Rather than spraying our edible plants with chemical pesticides and herbicides, we rely on manual controls and organic treatments. There are a number of effective treatment options available, and a good resource is the University of Maryland Extension. For one thing, trees can tolerate a certain amount of damage and still continue to produce. Many diseases can be overcome with proactive pruning. Just as you would do for your tomato plants, prune out the branches and foliage of fruit trees showing signs of disease to prevent spread.

If your homegrown peach suffers a nibble or two, cut out the damage and enjoy the rest. It may not be ready for a photoshoot, but that peach will be packed with flavor.

After all, who can resist luscious tree- or vine-ripened fruit? Not many of us, and furry critters like deer and squirrels are just as drawn to these tasty food sources. Ultimately, your best line of defense for larger pests is a barrier.

Fencing or netting can keep loss to a minimum, and Lee uses both to protect his beloved blueberry bushes. Lee also recommends applying deer repellants up until the time fruit is ripening.

And he has his dog to thank for some pest control. Consider it sharing the wealth. A bareroot plant is typically sold dormant and without soil around the root system. Plants in this form are easier to ship, so there is a much greater variety available as bareroot. Containerized plants are just that — they come in containers, with soil around the roots. This option can be easier to plant, and it can be planted nearly anytime.

Since it is being sustained by nutrients and moisture in the soil, a containerized plant can live for months while waiting for you to find the perfect time and the perfect spot. Resist the urge to purchase a larger tree in order to have fruit sooner. Research has shown that smaller plants can establish more quickly than larger specimens, and within a few years, small trees tend to outpace their larger counterparts.

Save yourself some money and stick with smaller trees. As a guy who loves unusual varieties, he also just loves the greater diversity available as bareroot plants.

Bareroot trees are stored and shipped in a dormant state. Most fruit trees are grafted — with the stem of one variety grafted onto the rootstock of another variety within the same species. The graft area is known as the grafting union, and you never want to plant so deeply that the grafting union is beneath the surface.

The union is usually easy to spot. Look for a slightly bent — and sometimes wider — area on the trunk. If the tissue of the grafted stem makes contact with the soil, it can root too, which is typically undesirable. However, if the stem of the grafted variety takes root, it is likely a standard tree and will mature at standard height.

So, keep the graft union two to three inches above the soil surface. If you place trees in your lawn space, keep the turf outside the drip line of young trees. The dripline is the area beneath the canopy of branches and foliage. Turf above tree roots will compete with the tree for water and nutrients. Arborist wood chips or shredded leaves are two great options. As the mulch breaks down it will provide nutrients to the soil which will feed the tree.

Once the tree has matured, competition from turf is less of a concern, however damage from a lawn mower or weed trimmer is another story. A tree trunk nicked during lawn maintenance becomes more vulnerable to disease.

So if you allow grass to spread into the dripline, allow sufficient space between the edge of the turf and the trunk of the tree. Perhaps you opt not to put your fruit-bearing plant into the ground at all? Many varieties will thrive and produce well in containers. Tropical and sub-tropical plants, like citrus, may not be hardy to your zone; but you can overwinter them indoors and bring them out during the warmer months to receive better light and air flow.

Lee grows several fruit varieties indoors — including kumquats, guava, and lemons. During his college years, he even had a fruiting apple tree growing in a container. The quality of this photo circa may not be great, but you can still make out a truckload of containerized fruit trees behind a very serious and youthful Lee.

His containerized fruit trees enjoy outdoor conditions from spring through fall. Then, Lee protects them indoors through the degree Fahrenheit temperatures of his Zone 5 winters. These species undergo a hormonal change after a certain amount of time in cooler temperatures — usually around degrees Fahrenheit.

Most apple trees, for example, must accumulate approximately 1, hours of cold temperatures to trigger growth, which begins as temperatures warm. On the other hand, a containerized plant exposed to too much cold outdoors can freeze solid — killing the plant. If you have an unheated storage space or basement, that might be the perfect spot to allow your plant to get the cooling period it needs.

Just be sure to provide some light and water as well.


Think Twice, Plant Once: Does a Tree Fruit Orchard Make Sense for Your Farm?

When it comes to growing our own food, the natural starting point for most of us is a vegetable garden. Growing fruit is just as important as growing vegetables because it gives us control over what is in our food and where it comes from. But homegrown fruit also provides incredible flavors and a larger selection of varieties than what is typically found in the grocery store. And by growing fruit organically, we are reducing the demand for conventionally grown fruit…and that supports the environment.

bearing orchard, planting a new one or renovating an old orchard, there are similar issues you will need to address in order to grow and market organic tree.

How to Grow Organic Fruit

Written by the long-time manager of the renowned Alan Chadwick Garden at the University of California, Santa Cruz, this substantial, authoritative, and beautiful full-color guide covers everything you need to know about organically growing healthy, bountiful fruit trees. For more than forty years, Orin Martin has taught thousands of apprentices, students, and home gardeners the art and craft of growing fruit trees organically. In Fruit Trees for Every Garden , Orin shares—with hard-won wisdom and plenty of humor—his recommended fruit varieties and techniques for productive trees, including apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, sweet cherry, orange, lemon, fig, and more. If you crave crisp apples, juicy peaches, or varieties of fruit that can never be found in the store, there's no better way than to grow them yourself. Whether you have one tree or a hundred, Orin gives you all the tools you need, from tree selection and planting practices to seasonal feeding guidelines and in-depth pruning tutorials. Along the way, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the core principles of organic gardening and soil stewardship: compost, cultivation, cover crops, and increasing biodiversity for a healthier garden. This book is more than just a gardening manual; it's designed to help you understand the why behind the how, allowing you to apply these techniques to your own slice of paradise and make the best choices for your individual trees. Filled with informative illustrations, full-color photography, and evocative intaglio etchings by artist Stephanie Martin, Fruit Trees for Every Garden is a striking and practical guide that will enable you to enjoy the great pleasure and beauty of raising homegrown, organic fruit for years to come. Since , he has taught classes, lectures, and workshops to thousands of home gardeners, apprentices, students, and budding farmers who have gone on to found and lead organic farms, teaching gardens, and food justice projects around the country and the world.

All About Growing Fruit Trees

How to select and care for fruit trees to ensure a bountiful, organic harvest. And you can enjoy a steady supply of fruit for much of the year. Besides fresh fruit in the fall, you can store apples through winter, and can preserve fruit for year-round use in cooking and baking. Savings The cost of organic fruit is high.

Our selection of fruit trees changes every year, so we post lists annually to help with planning.

Growing organic apples with fruit bagging: The Experiment

Preserving and protecting nature is getting more and more attractive, most of all for our own dear little children. Luckily, there are organic treatments for fruit trees that make it possible to reduce the amounts of chemical products used in the garden. It is very important to start with a short note as regards organic treatments for fruit trees. Organic does not necessarily mean safe! So first of all, it is critical to follow elementary precautions when going about treating your fruit trees organically.

Complete guide to dwarf & miniature fruit trees

Greenmantle has always been committed to the organic approach to horticulture. This applies both to the nursery stock we sell and our own personal garden and orchard. We believe that in the long run, organic methods will promote healthier plants, people, and planet. Of course, we realize that not everyone agrees with this philosophy, and we also understand that growing "clean" fruit organically can be a very difficult and elusive goal for customers, particularly in humid regions of the country. For those who wish to pursue a program of fruit culture that eschews dependence on chemical inputs or at least uses less than conventional methods normally require - we offer the following suggestions:. Natural organic orcharding begins with the soil.

A great way to look at purchasing and planting a fruit tree is to consider it making a friend for life. It should.

How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease

Many gardeners are interested in fruit trees, but are often unaware of which species will do well in Illinois and also the amount of work involved in growing tree fruit. Be sure to do your homework in planning a tree fruit planting, as not all tree fruits will do well in Illinois. Most of the varieties of tree fruits are grafted on dwarfing, semi-dwarf or seedling rootstocks. Trees grafted on dwarfing rootstocks require less space compared to trees grafted on seedling rootstocks.

Organic Production

Dowload a pdf of Organic Fruit Growing. Your goal is to have healthy trees the produce enough high quality fruit to satisfy your needs. Your home grown fruit does not have to be cosmetically perfect. A commercial grower has to produce good looking marketable fruit at low enough cost to be economically viable.

Growing organic citrus is not that much different from growing citrus trees in general.

The Benefits Of Growing Fruit Trees

In our latest how-to series we look at planting your own mini orchard for added colour, interest and tasty produce in the garden. The addition of an ornamental fruit tree in your garden not only promises a delicious harvest but a riot of colour when the trees are laden with beautiful blossom in spring. Extending beyond the veggie patch, fruit trees provide a good source of shade and privacy and create a focal point in the garden in addition to providing sweet fruits to eat. Some fruit trees, such as peach, apricot and nectarine, are self-fertile, so they fruit even if planted alone. However, fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum and cherry require a cross-pollinator to bear fruit, so more than one tree needs to be planted. Growing fruit trees can seem daunting, as they do require some pruning and care, however it is likely to be far less than you expect. In fact, you can grow fruit trees with minimal effort and pruning, but, if you want to be rewarded with a more bountiful crop, then some regular maintenance will be in order.

Organic treatments for your fruit trees

COVID and holiday hours. Holiday hours: Some services will be reduced during the holidays — see our Holiday hours page. The right site is an important factor — soil, sun, water availability, frost susceptibility and wind exposure all affect the success of your tree. Some air movement is good, but the best sites will be sheltered from strong winds and salt.


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