What Fruit Tree should you Plant?
Fruit trees have become a popular choice for backyard gardens in recent years. Understanding the conditions of your yard, the requirements of each variety of tree, as well as proper care of the tree is important.
Not all fruit trees will be suited to your landscape or needs so research the tree you are interested in and follow the advice of our Horticultural expertise and your tree will thrive.
Growing productive fruit trees can take time but the rewards are many!
Some cultivars will need a second tree in order to pollinate and set fruit. You can purchase trees that have multiple varieties grafted onto the same tree that will pollinate themselves.
How to Plant
The best time to plant fruit trees is the spring to give them a chance to establish themselves before the winter season.
- Dig a hole the same height and twice the width of the pot you tree came in.
- Prepare a soil mixture of 2 parts topsoil or black earth and 1 part peat moss and 1 part manure or other organic material.
- Place a couple of handfuls of soil mixture in the bottom of hole with about on half of a cup of bone meal.
- Remove plant from pot and set plant in hole. Do not plant with the soil above the graft.
- Add soil mixture to fill hole, tamping down soil to remove air pockets.
- Leave a slight depression around plant and add liquid transplanter fertilizer.
- Water well.
- Because fruit trees tend to be top heavy, they should be staked for support.
- To keep the moisture in, the soil around the tree can be covered with mulch (bark, stone or cocoa mulch).
- Cover the bark with plastic tree protectors to protect against rodent damage on younger trees.
Canada's favourite fruit: the apple!
Fruit trees are susceptible to insect and fungus damage benefit from a preventative spraying using dormant oil and lime sulphur which are sold together as a kit. This should be applied before the leaf buds begin to break or open, but only while the temperature will be staying above freezing for two or three days, to allow for thorough drying. This mixture is a strong spray and could burn tender young growth. This treatment is particularly effective in killing overwintering insects and controlling fungus.
Insecticides should not be applied on fruit trees while they are flowering as this could kill the bees that are essential for pollination.
Fruit tree spray should be used to control insect damage during the summer. Spraying should be discontinued just before harvest as indicated on the instructions. As with any pesticide treatment, application should be done when it is cooler outside to avoid burning the tree.
The best time for pruning is when the tree is dormant, before the buds begin to swell in early spring.
Most trees when purchased have the basic shape already begun. You need to maintain and improve the open-centered vase shape that is desirable. The basic principle of tree pruning is keeping an open vase-shaped tree to allow for sunlight and fruit growth. Vertical branches are less desirable as they could not support fruit.
Select three or four well-spaced branches that radiate evenly from the trunk. By the third winter, the basic scaffold of three or four main branches is established. Retain the best-placed shoots near the tip of each branch and one or two side shoots. Always cut to an outward-facing but to maintain an open center. The more horizontal the branching, the more and the earlier fruiting will occur.
After all the leaves have fallen spray tree with dormant oil and lime sulphur to help prevent insects and diseases.
Place tree protectors around trunk or wrap trunk with burlap or tree wrap for protection against rodents and other animals.
Best choices for the Ottawa area
- Cherry (sour and sweet)
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Apple, pear plum and most sweet cherry trees require two different cultivars in order to pollinate. All sour cherry trees are self-pollinating.
- Well-drained soil
- Rich soil
- Full sun