Size and Spacing: Standard / Semi-dwarfs
In the home orchard, plant trees about 10 feet apart, and trim them to stay between 8 - 15 feet tall. In a commercial farm, apple trees are spaced 15 feet apart with 20 feet rows are machinery. These trees are grown to 25 feet tall. An apple tree can become almost 40 feet tall in nature. Standard and Semi-dwarf Form: Our trees are grown in standard and semi-dwarf forms. A standard tree grows tall because the tip continues to grow. The tip of a semi-dwarf tree has been cut about 2 feet from the ground, therefore the tree has a shorter branching structure for easy picking.
Step One: Soil and Planting: Plant in soil that drains well. Dig a hole that is as deep as the tree's roots and at least twice as wide.
Step Two: Place the tree in the hole and backfill around the plant's roots with a mixture of the native soil and high-quality planting mix that has washed sand and organic fertilizer.
Step Three: Create a basin around the roots drip zone so that water collects. Water deeply until the roots and nearby soil is saturated and reaches field capacity.
How To Water Plants
Deciduous plants go dormant (lose their leaves) in the winter, therefore watering should be stopped. Discontinue watering until the plant leafs out in the early spring. Water newly planted fruit trees weekly (1 x / week) during the cooler early spring and fall seasons, and 2 - 3 times per week during the hot summer season. Increase the frequency of irrigation as the temperature and evapotranspiration rates increase. Once the tree roots grow larger and the plant establishes, irrigation will be needed less frequent.
Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition
Fruit trees and edible plants need nutrients to grow. This is called fertilizer and comes in different forms. Use organic manure, bone meal, blood meal, and humus based fertilizers. Apply fertilizers like manure along with a bone meal, humus based phosphorus fertilizer (1-2-2) NPK ratio in the late winter, right before spring growth. Reapply with organic high nitrogen (2-1-1) or fertilizers with a 1-1-1 NPK as directed by the label during the Spring and Summer growing season. Do not fertilize in the Fall, new growth at this time will be thin, lanky, and weak.
Winter Pruning and Summer Thinning
Prune fruit trees in the Winter to maintain size and shape to prepare for Spring growth. Thin the tree in the Summer, and remove excessive fruits. Remove any dry twigs and branches. Cut off any new growth below the graft or very low in the tree, this will direct the plant's energy to its main branches. Thin your trees during the Spring and Summer seasons to ensure the plant’s energy is directed as desired. If the plant provides an overly large quantity of fruits for that branch. Reduce the quantity of fruit so that what remains grows larger. This will also prevent broken limbs. Harvest ripe fruit to prevent undesired pests.
Harvesting and Pest Management
The basics of integrated pest management is cleanliness and the use of a combination of methods. This means we use of organic pesticide when the pest population reaches a threshold that requires action. Horticultural oils such as Neem oil is an organic pesticide that controls tiny, soft bodied insects. Use organic Bordeaux and Liqui-cop to manage fungus causing diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, and leaf-curls. Keep a clean environment, free of weeds and dropped fruit that host insects or attract animals. Harvest when fruit reaches size and store indoors. Use repellants and bird netting to protect your harvest from other animals.
The two factors that determine if a deciduous fruit trees will grow well and produce fruit in a certain area are the Chill Hour Requirement and the Cold Hardiness. “Chill hours” are the amount of cold a deciduous fruit tree need to produce fruit. This is measured in the number of hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit a plant must experience during its winter dormancy. Paradise Nursery only grows Low Chill fruit trees that meet the chill requirements of all areas of the United States. The second factor is Cold Hardiness. Cold Hardiness refers to the minimum temperature a plant can tolerate. The USDA’s Cold Hardiness Zones indicate the average minimum winter temperatures of areas. Based on the shipping zipcode, our website will only allow you to add plants to your cart that grow within your USDA Hardiness Zone, and tolerate your climate.
Pollination & Propagation
(Grafting/Cutting) Most of Paradise Nursery’s edible plants are self-fruitful. Self-pollinating trees do not require an additional tree to produce fruit. For your convenience, we have indicated which trees require a pollinator, and their associated pollinators. Only the sweet cherries, avocados, and some plums require a pollinator. All of our other propagated edible plants do not require a pollinator. All of our edible plants are either grown from cuttings, budded, or grafted. This way, we can ensure that our plants are high quality and fruit immediately. Plants will generally begin fruiting within a year of planting.
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