What is a Deciduous Fruit tree?
Deciduous fruit trees lose their leaves in fall, and include apple, pear, fig, pomegranate, nectarine, cherry, apricot, peach, and plum.
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>
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
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: UC IPM
Peach leaf curl is a disease that affects peach and nectarine trees. Although you may not see symptoms right now in the dormant season in California, it's time to think about treatment, especially if your tree had the disease last year.
Symptoms of this fungal disease include distortion, thickening, and reddening of foliage as trees leaf out in the spring. As weather warms, damaged leaves that die and fall off trees are replaced with new, usually healthy leaves. However, after several years without treatment, peach leaf curl will cause tree decline and reduced fruit production.
Avoid peach leaf curl by growing varieties resistant to the disease. For nonresistant peach and nectarine trees, consider spraying with preventive fungicides in the dormant season just before or as buds swell.
See the UC IPM publication Pest Notes: Peach Leaf Curl for more information about the disease and management options. Always read and carefully follow all precautions and safety recommendations given on the pesticide label.