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Fruit Trees

Plant fruit trees where they will have plenty of sunshine and air. Pruning at planting time consists only of cutting back a few of the branches to balance the roots and top of trees. Light, annual, spring pruning is preferable to heavy cutting every few years. Remove crossed or injured limbs and any branches that rub against each other leaving desired limbs. Try not to cut sharp angle crotches where branches join the trunk, as these might split with large amounts of fruit as the tree matures. Pruning should open up trees so sunlight can color the fruit and give free circulation of air. Rabbits and other small animals can cause substantial damage to young fruit trees during the winter months. Until the 4th year, the lower 18-24" of the trunk should have a protective barrier installed for the winter.

Regular spraying stops insects before they can damage your crop. Apply dormant oil before buds begin to swell. Spray trees with liquid fruit tree spray after flower petals fall. Follow-up applications should be made at approximately 10 day intervals until the harvest nears.

To increase productivity, thinning the crop will be necessary. This will give you much higher quality and larger fruit. For apples and pears, remove one fruit per cluster. For peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots, leave only one fruit per 8-10" of limb space. Thin crop when tiny fruits become visible.

Plant standard apple and cherry trees 30'-40' apart; apricot, pears, plums and peaches about 20' apart following the instructions in the section "Preparing the Ground for Planting" on page 2. Plant dwarf apples, pears, plums and apricots 10' apart.

 

Small Fruits, Berries, and Kiwi

For best results, all fruit plants should be planted in deep, well-drained soil. They should be placed in a location where they will receive full sun and have plenty of room to grow.

Currants & Gooseberries

Do best in cool, moist, partially shaded locations. Set in spring or fall. In the spring, they should be planted before the buds begin to grow. Prune any damaged roots and cut tops back to 10". When planting, the lower branches should be just a little below the soil level to encourage them to develop into bush form. Space Gooseberries 4 to 6' apart; Currants 3 to 4' apart. Fertilize well when you plant, water as necessary and mulch.

Elderberries

These prefer moist, well-drained soil and require 2 plants for cross-pollination. The old wood should be pruned to thin out the plant and to prevent crowding.

Red And Black Raspberries And Blackberries

Put roots in a bucket of water while you are preparing the holes for planting. Trim off any broken roots and cut the tops of the plant back to about 6". The hole should be dug large enough to allow you to spread the roots out like a fan; firmly pack the soil around the roots. Plant 3-5' apart in 6' rows. Red Raspberries should be planted 1-2" deeper than they were in the nursery (look for original soil line); Black Raspberries should be 1" deeper. Blackberries should be planted just about as deep as they were at the nursery. The soil should be rich in humus. They should all be planted so that there is free air movement during the growing season. This lowers the humidity and discourages fungus diseases. Never let the ground dry out. Cultivate early in the season and after the plants are established. Toward midsummer, begin mulching with materials such as grass clippings. This will help to keep the weeds down and conserve moisture. If the bushes are left un-pruned, the berries will become a mass of brambles. After fruiting each year, the old canes should be cut out and burnt. A few vigorous new canes should be left for the fruit to grow on the next year. These fruiting canes should be cut back to about 2 ½' in early spring in order to encourage fruiting laterals.

Blueberries

These do best in a cool, moist climate that does not have hot, dry winds. The soil should be moist, light textured and contain a high proportion of organic matter. The optimum acidity level is from pH 4.0 to 4.5. It is beneficial to mix soil with liberal amounts of peat moss and Ferrous Sulfate. Plant in spring or fall, using 2 varieties or more for good pollination. Each year 3-4" of sawdust or peat mulch should be applied. Blueberries have shallow root systems, so a shallow cultivation is required. Prune annually AFTER the 4th year, cutting back damaged wood to healthy strong growth.

Grapes

These should be planted 6' apart in a broad and deep hole. The top should be cut back to 2 or 3 strong buds. They should be planted deep enough to keep the roots from drying out and the hole should be filled with a rich soil or compost. Place the dirt firmly around the roots and water well. They should be kept cultivated through the first season. Once the vines are established they should be mulched with straw, leaves or ground corncobs. A well-decomposed manure is the best fertilizer to use, but do not apply if the vines are making excessive growth because a moderate growth of canes, which mature early, is preferred.

Prune annually while dormant (before buds start to swell). The fruit clusters are formed from the buds on 1-year-old canes. Canes that have borne fruit will not bear again so prune those off leaving approximately four new canes on each plant. To prune properly, 80 to 90% of the wood must be removed.

Strawberries

Plant in fertile, well cultivated soil. Set the plant with the crown just at the surface of the soil. Be sure roots are spread out fan-shaped and hang down full length without crowding. For the garden, set them at 2 foot intervals. Mulch them with 3 or 4" of straw in the fall. The mulch can be left on the next season to retain moisture and keep down weeds.

Fig Tree

The Fig prefers moist, well drained soils. It is tolerant of a wide variety of soils ranging from mostly sand to some clay, normal to moist with a pH of 5.5 to 8. Plant in full sun. Fruit ripens in June on old wood and often again in August on current year's wood. If winter temperature is colder than –5 degrees, the top will die back but the root will survive. Can be container planted if needed in cold zones.

Cherries

Prefer well drained soil. Will tolerate soils with sandy loam or some clay. pH 4.5 to 7.5. Full sun. 2-3 years to bear fruit. Tolerates dry, hot conditions

 

     

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