If you’re a home gardener, you might be tempted to grow backyard fruit trees not just to save money but there is a deep sense of satisfaction in growing your own food. The joy of growing and eating fruits from your backyard fruit trees cannot be compared to buying and eating fruits from the local fruit market not to forget the heavenly taste of your homegrown fruits. The fruits you buy from the market have been picked many days before, and the taste is not the same as freshly picked fruit. The fruits that get ripened on trees are naturally the sweetest. Those in market are even sometimes ripened artificially, sometimes with chemicals.Growing backyard fruit trees takes lot of commitment and hard work. From soil preparation to taking care of your fruit trees, you need to spend a lot of time before you can actually harvest and enjoy the fruits. Some fruit trees can also be used as attractive decor landscape trees.
Selecting which fruits trees to grow is a bit tricky. Apart from choosing a tree just because you like it, keep in mind the local weather conditions, space availability, growing conditions, susceptibility to diseases and pests, the amount of effort and time you want to put into growing the fruit trees, and how much time you need to wait for the trees to bear the fruits.
Prerequisites for a tree to bear fruits:
- Enough water and enough drainage
- Sunlight with adequate space for the roots to grow
Selecting the Right Trees to Grow in Your Backyard
In late winter or early spring, you can get some fruit trees saplings from your local nursery store. Whichever fruit tree you may choose, ensure that you choose a variety that thrives well in the area where you live i.e. it must be a native tree. Some fruit trees are self-pollinating, which means that they are able to fertilize themselves. If you want to grow apple, one tree alone will not bear fruit, unless plant another apple tree close to the first tree, so that they can pollinate each other, the same in case with papaya. The staff at the nursery can help you with these details.
Apart from backyard fruits trees, we have also written blog on how to choose right flowers for your garden.
Things to Do Before you Plant Backyard Fruit Trees
Check the Drainage: Most fruit trees will die in slow draining soil that remains saturated with water for long periods. You must know how well your soil drains before you plant the trees over there.
To test the drainage:
01. Dig a hole that is afoot in depth and fill it with water.
02. If the water drains in three to four hours, fill it again.
03. If the water takes more than three to four hours to drain either during the first time or the second time, you have issues i.e. drainage is not good.
If you find that the soil does not drain well, then here is what you can do:
- Do not plant in that soil.
- Build a mound, berm, or raised bed to plant the tree above the current soil line.
- Install a gravel or rock-filled trench that lets water drain away from the area where you are planting.
- The materials like expanded clay aggregate can also help.
Getting Sun for Backyard Fruit Trees
You should choose the sunniest spots in your backyard to grow the healthiest trees with the best quality fruit. The exception to this is a low desert climate area. In that case, the trees can benefit from some shade in the afternoon. Without sunlight, neither a flower will bloom nor trees will bear fruits.
The Spacing Required Between Backyard Fruit Trees
How you space your fruit trees will depend on, how wide the trees grows, how many trees you want to plant in your backyard, and how you plan to control the size of the trees. The centre to centre distance will depend on the size of the trees. When it is fully grown it may be from 15’ to 40’ (5 m to 12 m) centre to centre. However, for bananas and Papayas, the distance can be even 1.00 to 2.00 m i.e. 3’ to 6’ apart. It is best to ask your local nursery to guide you better.
Watering for Backyard Fruit Trees
When you plant a tree, make some permanent and easy watering arrangement. If drip irrigation is not possible, provide some pipelines with taps, so that watering is not troublesome. Otherwise, your investment and enthusiasm will vanish in a few days.
How to Plant a Fruit Tree in Your Backyard
To plant a fruit tree:
01. Dig a hole that is a little deeper than the length of the root and make it wide enough to be able to accommodate the longest of roots without bending.
02. Make the sides of the hole loose because sometimes roots do not penetrate a tight surface easily.
03. Backfill with soil that has been amended or is native until you have the correct depth. If you are planting more than one tree in one hole, you should consider this for each tree.
04. Prune off the roots to have them all clean and tidy.
05. Place the tree, spread the roots, fill up the hole with soil, and pack soil around the roots.
06. If soil drains fast, use plenty of water so that the soil settles around the roots. If the soil does not drain quickly, give water in small quantities over many days, if needed. Normally, you won’t need more water unless the tree grows several inches.
If you want to start kitchen gardening, here is the guidelines for you.
To plant a fruit tree in a raised bed:
01. Build a three to four feet square box for one tree.
02. Put the box at the poorly draining location.
03. Dig a shallow hole if you need to allow proper planting depth. Tree roots usually find their own way to anchor in any viable soil.
04. Put the tree in the box, spread the roots, and fill soil in the box, pack it around the roots.
05. Water to maintain moisture in the soil around the roots.
We have also tried to explain how you can identify pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
Pruning Your Backyard Fruit Trees
Fruit trees need enough sunlight and must have an open space?. You will need pruning tools like pruning saw, loppers, and hand pruners. You can also use a pole saw for the higher branches.
Late winter is the right time to prune the trees, before they begin any new growth. When you prune, focus on removing the dead or diseased branches while creating an open bowl-shaped tree.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer that contains potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen (NPK) in the beginning of spring and towards the end.
If you want to know how organic vegetables can be grown on your terrace, click on below link.
Also Keep in Mind:
01. Do not plant very large trees very near to your house as their roots may damage the foundation of your house.
02. If you are living in a city surrounded by neighbours and if you plant a fruit tree just adjacent to a compound wall or your boundary, half of the fruits will be shared by a neighbour and unless the neighbour is honest, you may not reap 100% fruits.
03. If you are surrounded by high rise buildings, find out those areas which have enough direct sunlight throughout the day. Otherwise, the tree will not bear fruits. Your tree must not get shadowed by adjoining buildings.
Obtain Quality Home-Grown Fruits from Your Backyard
Once small and green fruit begin to appear on the trees, you should thin out some of the fruit. This means removing these unripe and small fruits, to make a space of four to six inches between each fruit. This will help in producing better quality and larger fruit. This is because the tree can devote better resources to the fruit.
Just like maintaining fruit trees, maintaining your kitchen garden is also equally important. Here are the tips for the same.
Fruit Varieties You Can Grow in Your Backyard
You can choose some best backyard fruit trees depending upon your preference and location.
Summing up, don’t be greedy. Plant just optimum number of trees based on space. Prefer native ones, and enjoy fruits with family and friends.
Hope these ideas on how to grow backyard fruit trees will help you to grow fruit trees in your garden.
Indrani Ghosh – In the fourth decade of my life, I decided that I needed something more. I needed to tell everyone my story, but in a way that people would read it. So I have become a part-time writer. My main profession is that of a technical writer and I have been part of the IT industry for 19 years now. I have worked for companies like TCS and Ericsson and clients like Johnson & Johnson, Citi Cards, T-Mobile, Visa, and many more. I love my job and have a great passion for life. My husband is my best friend and he is as passionate about life as I am, though in subtly different ways. I am a loyal friend, a skilled professional, a loving wife and hopefully, soon a published author! I am Easily Reachable on – Facebook, LinkedIn.