Prior to planting fruit trees as a part of the local landscaping design, there are a few questions homeowners need to ask themselves. First, what is the main purpose of these fruit trees going to be? Fruit trees chosen for the length or beauty of their blooming cycles may be quite different from varieties chosen for their edible soft fruits. Secondly, it is a good idea to research the consequences of having fruit trees on one’s property. What kinds of pollinators do they attract? Are they prone to any local pests or diseases? If so, what treatments are available? Finally, DIY landscapers should decide preemptively what is to be done with any potential waste produced by the trees themselves. Often, hanging fruits ripen, rot, and fall, which can create unsightly stains on hardscapes (patios, paths, driveways, and porches). Proactively tending to the waste as it accumulates can generate a healthy compost pile before the waste gets out of control.
If homeowners intend to eat the fruit grown on their property, the landscape will most likely require some extra maintenance. Visit local planting nurseries and garden centers to inquire after local pest populations and which fruit trees they affect. Preventative spraying and other treatments may be necessary here, as pest populations tend to overwhelm a harvest of fruit shortly after the first appearance of infestation. Birds may be another problem. Many bird species nest in fruit trees and use the harvest both for nesting material and a food supply for their young. In many cases, simple netting can be effective in denying access to fruit, but this is only practical on smaller fruit trees. Owl and snake decoys can be effective measures for larger trees.
The local climate also plays a prominent role in determining what kind of fruit trees may be grown in the area. Most fruit trees require a high daily quota of sunlight, along with relatively temperate air. If temperatures dip below freezing after the blooming cycle has begun, homeowners may see a significant reduction in the number of live blossoms (and consequently, the harvest to come). The USDA plant hardiness zones are essential here—they can help determine whether a given variety of fruit tree will be hardy enough to withstand the local winter. Be sure to research local precipitation and temperature data for the months of the fruit trees’ growing season. Keep in mind the trees’ mature height and spread, which may necessitate planting at strategic distances from the home.
Tags: fruit, tree, landscape, homeowner, plant, harvest