How to care for fruit-bearing plants

How to care for fruit-bearing plants

Create a tasty garden with fruit-bearing plants! Here are some quick tips to help you get started.

Different fruit-bearing trees you should know

Fruit-bearing trees fall into two major categories: pome fruit, which includes apples, quinces and pears; and stone fruit, which includes apricots, peaches and plums.

  • Other types of fruit produced by trees, such as figs and mulberries, are also very worthwhile for the average garden.

Fruit-tree maintenance

  • Fruiting trees need moderately rich, well-drained soil and a sunny, open position with space to grow to maturity without overlapping with other trees or shrubs. Overcrowding produces poor results and makes the fruit very awkward to harvest.
  • Like all plants that produce a crop, fruiting trees need a good supply of nutrients to sustain fruit production. At the planting stage the soil should be built up with plenty of well-rotted organic matter, such as manure or compost; this will have the added effect of improving drainage.
  • The hole into which the trees are planted should be at least three times the size of the rootball, and a stake will be needed to support the tree if it is in an exposed, windy position.
  • After planting, twice-yearly feeding with an all-purpose organic fertilizer is needed for healthy growth. This should be given in early autumn, then again in early spring to boost the new growth.
  • Fruit trees resent being grown in grass because it competes for moisture and nutrients. Keep the area well mulched with organic matter and allow chickens to free-range around the trees, as they provide fine biological control for many insects that attack fruiting varieties.
  • Also maintain proper hygiene: do not allow fallen fruit to rot at ground level, and rake away any fallen leaves that are diseased, as they will continue the cycle of fungal problems.

Cultivate your berry fruit

This category includes all the soft fruits that are produced on bushes or canes, such as raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. The exception, of course, is strawberries, which are small perennials that produce fruit at ground level.

  • Berry fruits are relatively easy to cultivate in the correct climate. Most berry fruits prefer a cool to cold climate.
  • Many are deciduous, bearing their fruit on the current year’s growth, and therefore require some pruning or training to obtain the maximum results.
  • They prefer a free-draining, moderately rich soil and require plenty of watering during spring and early summer when they are making new growth and producing fruit.
  • They like full sun and an open position with some shelter from strong winds, which may damage developing fruit.
  • Berry-fruiting bushes are best grown in beds set aside for the purpose, planted into soil that has been prepared with plenty of well-rotted compost and animal manure.
  • They can be positioned to the back or the side of the vegetable garden, with a trellis for support in the case of raspberries and gooseberries.
  • Again, it is not advisable to allow grass to grow around the base of the plants, as it depletes the soil of moisture and nutrients.
  • After the plants are established they will benefit from a thick layer of mulch, such as hay or straw to which well-rotted animal manure has been added.
  • Strawberries require a clean mulch that prevents the fruit from coming into contact with the soil.

Fruit-bearing plants can be a delicious additions to any garden. Keep these tips in mind to help your crops thrive.

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