Things you can do to promote the growth of healthy fruit trees
August 4, 2017
Customers and members of the A Fresh Legacy community often ask me for advice on the care of fruit trees. As a general rule I avoid providing any because I don’t feel like I have a suitable level of knowledge or experience to offer. Our fruit trees are still young but I have been learning from the questions and the things we’ve dealt with to date. This post shares the things I have learned to date and the things I am testing in my own garden to promote the healthy growth and increased harvests from our little trees.
One piece of advice I do offer in relation to fruit trees is a recommendation to the males of the family to pee on the ground at the base of the lemon tree when they are out in the garden. Our lemon tree is incredibly productive! Too productive almost. The trees like the urea content in urine.
We moved to our home six and a half years ago and have planted the following fruit trees:
There was an existing mature lemon and feijoa tree that we kept.
As our trees grow I am learning how to best care for our trees as they mature. To date the peach and nectarine have suffered leaf curl and I have discovered the following from discussions with my local nursery and organic seed farmer, as well as my own research and experience with our trees:
My general approach is to add compost and manure under my trees each season when I add it to the vegetable garden beds.
Exact timing or nutrient balance I have not addressed.
To date I have relied on my father-in-laws advice and help to prune the trees when he visits. It is something I’d love to learn the mechanics of. I have been removing crossed branches and those that are growing into the center of the tree. I have found Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens to be a great source of information and advice. You can find them here.
This post from Deep Green Permaculture is beneficial for a visual guide to pruning.
Over the previous years I have been progressively adding more and more flowers to the vegetable garden as companion plants to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. I wrote this article about the benefits of adding flowers to the vegetable garden. Since I have been planting in this way I have noticed a significant increase in harvest volume.
This year I am under-planting the fruit trees after laying weed suppression and composting inside metal surrounds. I have started the process with the first couple of trees. This involved weeding first and then laying cardboard and newspaper on top of the area. I then added soil from a vegetable garden bed that is being removed from the garden with layers of compost.
The following flowers will be added under the trees based on a search of companion planting recommendations similar plants came up as most effective.
Peach and Nectarine:
Other flowers that provide nutrients to the soil and food for pollinators and beneficial bugs include:
I can’t say at this point in time how effective this planting will be but I will test it an update based on results. I don’t believe there is a down-side in this approach, it will certainly not have a negative impact on my garden to attract more pollinators and beneficial insects and improve the soil structure.
Have I missed any companions that you use effectively under fruit trees? Please share your experience so others can benefit from it.
Have a great weekend. Happy gardening
Alan Branhagen – June 2011 State by State Gardening
Liz Baessler, 2016, Gardening Know How
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