If you planted (or planning to) your first fruit tree, it is safe to assume you are not yet an expert on the subject. More fruit trees die in their early years due to poor caring than any disease or pestilence. Therefore, it is vital that you understand how to care for trees in a way that will ensure their success as well as future good health.
Proper nutrition is not only necessary to produce healthy fruits, but also for the tree to survive longer than one season. The exact needs vary with the area, climate, and type of tree, but I’ve found that there is no better source than a nursery.
Maybe they’re just eager to sell you compost and fertilizer, but in my experience, they are almost never wrong. Just inform them about the conditions your tree is living in and they should be able to help you create a healthy environment for it.
Lots of people think that the only way to ensure a tree’s healthiness is to provide it insane amounts of water. This is not the case at all.
In fact, giving too much water to a tree can be more harmful than making it go thirsty. At the best, it will have a negative effect on the taste of the fruit and at worst; your entire tree could die.
Do not ever try to solve your problems by giving it lots of water! Solve your tree’s health problems at the root, so to speak. Go to where the problem originates from, and fix that.
During the first stages of a tree’s life, the roots, trunk, and branches have not yet fully developed to self supporting strength. Therefore, if your tree is growing fruits, occasionally the combined weight is enough to snap off an entire branch.
If this is the case, provide external support for the branches – prop them up with boards, or tie them to something. If you provide your tree the support it needs in these early years, it should grow to be independent in no time at all.
If it is too late and you’re already starting to see unhealthy branches that look either diseased or damaged, you should always remove them. If the tree is wasting nutrients by sending them out to the branch that cannot be saved, it is practically throwing away all the nutrients that it could use on the other, healthier branches.
As soon as you start to see a branch that is deteriorating or becoming unhealthy, chop it off right away. At the very least, trim down the unhealthy part but leave all the segments that still look like they could continue growing.
Once your tree has started to enter the picking stage, never leave any of the fruit on the ground that is bound to fall. Also, be careful to get every fruit off the tree. Even if it is an ugly looking fruit that you don’t want to keep, you should still pick it and throw it away.
Once these fruits begin to rot, they provide a perfect home for unwanted insects or diseases that can transfer to the tree itself. Rake up these fallen fruits, and prevent yourself a lot of future grief.
Getting a fruit tree and caring for it throughout its life can be a daunting task. It may even seem impossible sometimes to keep track of all the factors that make a tree healthy.
However, if you just pay attention to the basics, you should be on a good path. In addition to nutrients, figure out the precise amount of watering to give without drowning it and you will have a great tree that produces delicious fruits.