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Three Fruit Tree Fails

Who doesn’t love fresh fruit directly from the source? I personally am a huge fan. You can really tell the difference between an apple bought from a generic grocery store and that of a freshly sourced one from a tree. It is because of this fact that I have begun growing my own fruit trees. Currently, I have been growing two apple trees (Wolf River and Honeycrisp) and two cherry trees (Montmorency and North Star). What’s funny is you go into this knowing that it takes years for the tree to actually produce fruit, and even still, the impatience that occurs is something to drive one crazy! Given that I am now on the tail end of my third year of growing these trees, I thought I would give a little feedback as to some cold hard learning I went through.

  1. PROTECT YOUR TREES!

This point cannot be stressed enough. If you do not protect them, they are free game for attack from all sorts of creatures. Rabbits and deer in particular. My current Wolf River tree is actually not the one I started with. Naively I decided to wait an extra weekend after planting before I put up some sort of defense. This happened to be during rutting season and I had previously noticed a deer highway through my backyard. I woke up one morning to find my tree completely girdled, about a foot in height. In this case, the tree was already 2 years old. That is time you cannot get back. Sometimes you can, but it will cost more. I have protected them two different ways. The first way (shown left), is quite messy looking when it comes to trying to keep the grass around it trimmed. The second way (shown right), is nicer looking in my opinion, but is still being put to the test as it is rather new.

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  1. Plant your trees in adequate sunlight.

Without sunlight, your trees can not grow as big and strong as they could. In fact, it may seem as if it has slowed the growth of the tree. This is something that you want to get right as there really is no going back. My Honeycrisp apple tree fell victim to this and is paying the price. It is puny compared to my Wolf River, even though it is a year older. Other things I have experienced is increase assaults by Aphids and Japanese Beetles on this tree as compared to my others that are in the sun and healthier. Make sure your trees face south, aren’t shaded by other trees, and get the best light possible.

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  1. Protect your fruit.

This was the first year that my two cherry trees have fruited. They both produced a large crop of cherries, I would say over 100 each. However, I ended up only getting 4 for myself. Yes, you read that correctly, 4. The reason for this was I did not protect my fruit and the birds in my yard became greedy. Each day there would be less and less fruit available until finally, when the cherries were ripe enough for me, I was left with a very small amount. This next year I will be protecting the fruit somehow, potentially using netting. I will let you all know how it goes. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Fruit trees are a secret pleasure of mine and I hope to expand on the four that I currently have someday, but until then my attention is focused on improving the ones I’ve got. If you’ve never grown a fruit tree before, please do try it! Just keep in mind the three tips above once you start.


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About the Author

Geoff has been growing plants and vegetables consistently for the last 6 years and actively experiments with, and writes about, all aspects of gardening.

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