- Author: Anne Schellman
What is a Deciduous Fruit tree?
Planting New Trees & Understanding Where Fruit Originates
Sometimes a fruit tree mysteriously dies, and the gardener isn't sure what happened. A common cause is a tree that was planted too deeply. Root and crown rot slowly affect the tree, causing it to die years later. Watch the detailed instructions on how to plant correctly.
It's important to understand how new fruit develops and grows on the tree. Not all deciduous fruit trees produce fruit in the same place. It's important to know this so you don't accidentally cut off fruit spurs and damage your tree's ability to produce fruit. See this video for guidance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4fgVrf8XHE&t=250s
Publication - Fruit Trees: Planting and Care of Young Trees https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8048
Fruit Trees: Training and Pruning Deciduous Trees https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8057
Keeping New Trees Small – the Fruit Bush Method
Tired of out-of-control fruit trees? If you are planting a new tree, watch this video! It details the Fruit Bush Method, a specific way of keeping fruit trees small. See photos of 5-6' tall fruit trees planted over 30 years ago that continue to produce an ample amount of fruit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry4YAp6NzdI&t=1s
Pruning Established Trees
Other Helpful Publications
Fruit Trees: Thinning Young Fruit https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8047
What about Citrus Trees?
Citrus trees such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, lime, and kumquats are evergreen trees and need different care than deciduous trees. It's not recommended to prune citrus trees at the same time as deciduous fruit trees. Wait until spring to prune your tree for size and shape.
We are offering an online class on citrus on January 31, so watch for our registration advertisement in about a week. Locally, we will be teaching at 8 library locations about citrus during March./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
If you missed our planting and pruning Bare Root Fruit Trees Class, you can watch the recording on our UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener YouTube Channel. The class includes information on deciduous fruit trees, including apple, pear, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum, and apricot.
What about Citrus?
Citrus trees such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and kumquats are evergreen trees and need different care than deciduous trees. Our program will offer an online class on March 22 on Caring for Citrus. Registration coming in early March 2022./h4>
- Author: Anne Schellman
Deciduous Fruit Trees
Deciduous fruit trees lose their leaves each winter. These trees include apple, pear, cherry, nectarine, peach, plum, and apricot; it does not include citrus or avocado trees, which are evergreen.
What is a Bare Root Fruit Tree?
A “bare root” fruit tree is a tree sold in its dormant state. The tree has no leaves, is not actively growing, and is sold without a pot. When you choose your tree, a store employee pulls it out of a large container with other trees that is filled with sawdust. The tree roots are wrapped with moistened newspaper, and then covered over with butcher paper and tied with a string. You'll be advised to take it home and plant it right away. Some garden centers may sell bare root fruit trees in plastic bags. If the material around the roots is moist and the roots have not dried out, the tree should be healthy.
Choosing a Fruit Tree
I have a Small Yard or an Apartment, Can I have a Fruit Tree?
Deciduous fruit trees as well as evergreen fruit trees get very large. Fruit trees grafted onto dwarfing rootstock and labeled “genetic dwarf” are smaller than semi-dwarf and standard trees, however they have extensive roots and are not recommended for containers. One exception is the kumquat, a sweet and tangy citrus fruit. Small yards can have fruit trees, but you have to start your tree out right for this to work.
If you live in an apartment and want fruit, you can grow your own blueberries or strawberries in containers. See our publications:
Blueberries in Your Garden https://ucanr.edu/sites/CEStanislausCo/files/111737.pdf
Strawberries in Your Garden https://ucanr.edu/sites/CEStanislausCo/files/111651.pdf
Registration Open for our Free Class
We hope to “see” you at our Planting and Pruning Bare Root Fruit Trees Zoom class at the end of the month! If you miss it, you can find it later on our YouTube Channel.
When: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Register at: http://ucanr.edu/bareroot2022
Instructors: Hector Vera-Uribe and Johnny Mullins
- Author: Ed Perry
If you do not prune your trees enough, they will become too tall to harvest, even with a tall ladder. If you have an unpruned fruit tree in your garden, you know that most of the fruit grows in the top. Yearly pruning is necessary to keep the tree at a reasonable height, for instance, no more than 10 or 12 feet high. If your tree is already overgrown, you may want to reduce its height gradually, say over a two-year period.
The main objectives of pruning mature fruit trees are to reduce the number and increase the size of the potential crop, to develop new fruit wood, to remove interfering and broken branches, and to contain tree height and spread for convenient harvest. Most fruit trees, when not pruned, produce more fruit than they can size and mature properly. You can prevent such overproduction with yearly pruning.
Persimmons, many figs, quinces and pomegranates bear fruit on current season's growth. When you prune these trees, remove old and weak branches, leaving some younger branches to produce new growth and fruit the coming year. Overcrowding and lack of sunlight will cause branches to die, so you need to thin out some branches to allow light infiltration into the tree so that the fruit wood stays healthy.
Nut trees such as almonds and walnuts do not need as much pruning for height control as fruit trees. You harvest nuts by knocking them down with a long pole, rather than by hand picking, so the trees can be much taller.
Fruit Tree Resources
Fruit Trees: Training and Pruning UC ANR Publication
The California Backyard Orchard For more details about training and pruning deciduous fruit trees.
Citrus and Avocado Trees Require Little Pruning For information on pruning citrus and avocado trees.
Ed Perry is the emeritus Environmental Horticultural Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Stanislaus County where he worked for over 30 years.