Late October to mid-November is the perfect time of year for amateur gardeners to plant certain fruit trees in the fall. Whether you are looking for small varieties for your patio containers or you want to grow an orchard, the fall season is suitable for planting fruitful crops. In addition, planting in the fall season increases the survival rate of your fruit trees and promotes better establishment and growth. So, if you want to benefit from abundant harvest and fruitful garden, the following gardening tips and short guide to cultivation can be of practical help.
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What to consider before planting fruit trees in the fall
In winter, fruit trees are dormant and therefore experience fewer shocks when transplanting. Such shock is common when planting, but it can kill the plant. Therefore, it is very important to reduce root stress. If you grow the fruit tree in autumn or winter , its roots will grow during this period and lead to stronger growth of the tree. In addition, trees planted in November will require less watering the following summer, as they will develop a better root system during the winter dormancy.
When choosing a growing location for your fruit trees, sun and soil are the most important factors to consider. Most fruit varieties need about 6 hours a day of sunlight to stay healthy and bear fruit. Fruit trees also need well-drained soil. Accordingly, the garden soil should not be frozen or soggy when planted. Also, keep in mind that a windy location could affect flowering in the spring, resulting in a smaller crop.
While these two needs are easy to identify, it can be more difficult to know if your soil has good drainage. You can determine this by testing how quickly water drains away from your desired growing location. Dig a 30 x 30 cm hole and fill it with water. After the water has drained from the hole, fill it again and measure the depth of the water. Wait 30 minutes and then measure the water depth again to see how much water has drained. A good drainage rate is about 5 cm per hour or 2.5 cm every half hour.
How to choose fruit varieties
If you plant fruit trees in the fall, it can be relatively trouble-free and very rewarding. In addition, planting in November gives the tree roots a chance to establish themselves over the winter months so they can grow faster next spring. If you are replanting a fruit tree, you can put a tree guard around the trunk to keep rodents like rabbits or other wildlife out.
The beauty of fruit like this is how little you have to do with it to get the most out of its flavor. There are few things sweeter than a fruit freshly picked from the tree. The choices are tempting: sweet eating apples, delicious cooking apples and pears, and juicy plums and cherries. More unusual fruit varieties such as plums, peaches and quinces are also suitable for growing in November . Such fruit trees also bring the added benefit of beautiful spring blooms to the garden.
Planting fruit trees in autumn and grafting rootstock
First, when choosing your fruit tree, it is important to know that almost all varieties are grafted onto a rootstock. A rootstock is just another compatible tree that has been bred to have special characteristics. Most importantly, the rootstock your fruit tree is grafted onto will affect the size of the tree. If you only want a small tree in your yard that will not grow taller than two to three feet, then choose a dwarf fruit tree. For a more traditional orchard type tree, there are more vigorous rootstocks.
Generally, fruit trees on dwarf orchard produce a crop at an earlier age, but the dwarf trees usually do not live as long. The final yield on a larger tree will obviously be much greater. The name of the rootstock should be clearly indicated on the tree and varies depending on the fruit. For apple trees, for example, M27 is extremely dwarf and means your tree will grow less than 5 feet tall. M26 rootstock for an apple tree is only semi-dwarf and the tree will likely grow up to 3 feet tall. In addition, fruit trees you can find in garden markets are usually about two years old, so they can produce a good crop within a few years.
Recommended fruit trees for growing in November.
There are a wide variety of fruit trees you can plant in your autumn garden. What better way to welcome the last weeks of fall and the first weeks of winter than, of course, with fresh produce from your own garden. For example, an apple tree grown in the fall bears crisp and tasty apples for late-night eating with a nice honey flavor. The fruit ripens in October and can be kept until Christmas. In addition, apple trees bloom and can reward you with lots of fruit, while being very easy to grow. Some apple varieties produce bright red fruits with an aromatic sweet taste. They are also thin-skinned and ideal for children. The ripening period is from the beginning of September, while they are also self-pollinated.
The variety called “Stella” is also quite popular among cherry trees. These sweet cherries have a dark red flesh and have a mild acidity, which makes them perfect for making pies. You can look forward to a harvest at the end of July, and the cherry tree is also self-fertile, like apple trees. As for pears, the Concorde variety is one that you can also plant in the fall season. This pear variety has sweet flesh and is very juicy, with the fruit growing on a compact tree. The skin of the pears is green and yellow, with rusty red spots and it is heavily pruned. If you grow plum trees in November, you can harvest ripe fruit of excellent quality from mid-August. The variety “Jubilee” has a purple skin and juicy yellow flesh. Plum and damson trees are vigorous growers, so they are also recommended as dwarf fruit.
Follow simple steps and plant fruit trees in autumn.
Growing a fruit tree in November is simple and should take very little time. After finding a sunny and well-drained location, you can dig a hole as deep as the root system and twice as wide as the root spread. This should be about twice the size of the pot. Place the tree in the hole so that the soil from the pot is level with the ground. It is best to add compost as well to prevent air pockets and allow for good watering. If you plant in the spring or summer, remember to water the tree well for the first few months to help it get established.
- Prune apples and pears back in the winter to provide structure. Tidy them up in June if necessary.
- Stone fruit such as plums, cherries and plums are best pruned immediately after fruiting.
- It is recommended to remove all fruits in the first year before development, so that the tree can concentrate its energy on growth. After that, you will only need to thin out the fruit if the stand is particularly heavy.
- If you live in an urban area, pollination is easily done from nearby gardens. Bees travel many miles.
- In a more remote area, choose self-pollinating fruit varieties or species that bloom at the same time.
- Be sure to clear a radius of about 3 feet around your tree and remove all grass and weeds. These need to stay away so they don’t compete with your fruit tree for nutrients.
- Water and mulch your fruit trees regularly in the beginning. It is best to water them slowly and deeply every few days. This will ensure that the roots stay moist without becoming saturated.