Fruit trees are as easy as plant, watch them grow and reap the benefits of market quality fruit – it’s really that simple, right? Sorry, it’s not really that simple at all.
Fruit trees, like high quality turf grass, take lots of TLC – and a base level of knowledge on how to properly care for your trees. Every year I am amazed by sold out classes about fruit tree pruning and the excitement of participants who plan to plant and grow fruit trees for the very first time. Although I share in their excitement, I also caution that fruit trees take time, work and usually pesticides to ensure high quality, unblemished fruit.
Here is a simple checklist of must reads to prepare yourself on how to properly care for fruit trees – and remember, if this seems like too much work for you, farmers’ markets are a great place to purchase locally grown tree fruit and support Utah orchards.
- Purchase trees – pick the best variety! Utah Tree Fruit Variety Recommendations
- Prune trees – prune pome fruits (apples and pears) differently from stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots). For more information on pruning, including pruning cherry trees, see Pruning the Orchard and our previous blog post Pruning Fruit Trees: Clip with Confidence.
- Thin fruit trees – thin apples, pears, peaches, apricots and large plums for high quality and consistent fruit production, for more information on thinning, see Tree Fruit Care and Production.
- Educate yourself of season-long care and pest control. Check out the Critical Temperatures for Frost Damage on Fruit Trees Factsheet, and read the Utah Home Orchard Pest Management Guide.
- Finally, subscribe to USU Tree Fruit Pest Advisories to receive information on critical dates for spray applications to control pests and check out Archived Advisories to learn what you should be looking for and planning for at different times throughout the growing season.