Add delicious vegetation to your backyard. Photo Credit: General Wesc
One of the greenest things you can do at home is to grow fruit trees. Adding vegetation is great for the environment, air quality, aesthetics, and even for your budget, since picking and eating your own homegrown fruit can cut back on a bit of grocery shopping.
The nice thing about fruit trees is that you can keep them rather small and plant them in nearly any area. Apple trees are especially easy since there are numerous varieties and you’re bound to find at least one or two species that will thrive in your particular geographic area.
The key to successfully growing fruit trees of any variety is good soil drainage. In order to test the drainage abilities of your soil, dig a hole in the ground in the location you plan to plant a tree and fill it with water. If the water does not seep completely into the ground within three to four hours, your soil doesn’t drain well enough for fruit trees. In this case it would be best to plant your fruit tree in a raised bed, which need be only about three to four feet in length and width.
Naturally when growing fruit trees you’ll want to be able to reach and consume the literal fruits of your labor. This is done most easily by careful pruning of your fruit tree. After planting your young tree, prune it back to about knee height. Each year, prune the tree back in height and width - this will keep the tree from getting too tall or from spanning excess areas of the yard. Proper pruning is very healthy for the tree and will stimulate hardy growth of the fruit while compacting the area of fruit production to a smaller area low enough for easy picking.
Be prepared to be patient with your fruit trees. They may take a year or two to produce fruit and a few years before you get any significant yield.
If you’re planning to plant several fruit trees, keep them at a distance of about five feet apart from each other in order to give the roots and branches ample room for absorbing nutrients from the soil and the sun.
While apples are fairly easy to grow in any area, if you’d like to incorporate other fruits in your yard, consider some other popular fruit tree choices: peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, and apricots.
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