- 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: Anne Schellman
Why spray for peach leaf curl disease?
Right now, the fungus that causes leaf curl is present on your trees. Once spring arrives, its spores “move” via water droplets splashed onto developing leaves. When the environment is right, these spores invade newly developing leaves, growing in between leaf cells and causing distortion of cells.
Symptoms of peach leaf curl disease include puckering leaves that curl and turn a reddish color. Often the entire first set of leaves may drop off. When new leaves begin to grow, these leaves are also infested. Twigs and shoots distort and often die. Fruit is rarely affected. However, left untreated, nectarine and peach trees begin to decline and fruit production is substantially reduced.
Often when gardeners see symptoms of leaf curl disease on their tree, they are tempted to pull off the affected leaves, thinking this will help. Unfortunately, there is little to do at this point to control the disease.
Insects, diseases, and weeds are pests, and products used to kill them are called pesticides. Whether a product is organic or not, it can still have an impact on you and/or the environment, so be sure to follow the directions on the product label regarding personal protection, correct mixing, and application. When spraying, make sure to coat the tree until the product is dripping off. Come spring, your peach and nectarine tree trees should leaf out and grow vigorously, followed by a healthy crop of fruit.
Learn more about peach leaf curl by visiting the UC IPM website and reading their Quick Tips on it at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/peachleafcurlcard.html For more detailed information about this disease, read the Pest Notes at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html
Bare root fruit trees are arriving in nurseries and garden centers. If you are thinking about planting fruit trees but aren't sure what to plant, how to plant, and how to care for them, you'll want to attend our online Bare Root Fruit Tree Planting and Pruning Class on January 25, 2022. More details coming next week.
If you have fruit trees that produce a lot of small fruit, you may be missing an important step in growing fruit trees called "thinning." Next month we'll publish an article on how and when to thin fruit from Ed Perry, retired UCCE Stanislaus County Emeritus Horticulture Advisor.
Anne Schellman is the UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program Coordinator.
- 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.