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Fruitful investments

27 May 2022
buying apple tree
Photo: Getty Images

It pays to do your homework before purchasing a fruit tree to plant over winter. Words Rachel Vogan

At present I am enjoying fruit I grew and preserved over summer: stewed apples, peaches, apricots and
plums. That sense of gratification I get when I enjoy it on my cereal or served hot in a pie or crumble makes it worth every bit of the time, energy and care it took to pick and produce the fruit

In my world, it’s survival of the fittest when it comes to fruit trees. I only grow fruits that I know will produce a reliable crop with little care or maintenance (other than watering, pruning every year or two, and feeding). I can’t climb up on ladders to do anything like covering frost-sensitive crops with nets, nor will I wait 10 years for something to fruit. Therefore, I do the groundwork before planting anything new.

Fruit tree essential needs

Room to grow

Site selection is critical. Fruit trees are long-term tenants, therefore consider carefully what you plant where. Choose a position where a fruit tree can fully mature and develop. Avoid trying to squeeze in one more plant down the back corner on the off-chance it may grow.

Full sun

No compromise here; hardly any fruit trees thrive without at least four hours of sunlight per day. Generally, more sun equals more flowers, which equals more fruit...

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