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4 Steps for a Backyard Orchard

Trees are an exceptional addition to your yard, regardless if you’re sitting on an acre or a postage stamp. They are the best places for climbing children, nesting birds, and napping under their canopy. If you can snag a fruit-bearing kind of tree, you can instantly add a foundational producer in your edible landscaping.

WHAT’S YOUR TYPE

If adding some fruit trees to your yard is enticing, one of the first things that you need to identify is what type of fruit tree you’d like to add. Sadly, it can’t just be what kind of fruit you like. You may love figs, but if you live in a zone with long, cold seasons, that fig tree will not love you back. If apples are your jam – or sauce or butter – living in cooler zones doesn’t hamper the growth as much.

A LITTLE VARIETY

Now that you have identified a fruit type that you would like to grow, the variety will be the next question. For example, if we are still wanting bushels of apples to make Grandma’s Apple Crisp with, you need to decide which apple variety is going to make that recipe shine. You could choose the popular sweet and tart Honeycrisp. Or opt for the small crispy child of the Honeycrisp, the Kindercrisp. Or, maybe the zesty, brown sugar sweetness from another University of Minnesota creation, the Zestar.

WHERE TO PLANT

When you are choosing the perfect place for your fruit trees there are a few things to keep in mind. Start with finding a spot that gets a full day of sun – at least eight hours. That much sun and air circulation are keys to fruit production. Make sure that the soil in the area is well-drained, and if necessary, be ready to irrigate to help fruit production. Also, fruit trees should be planted away from vegetable gardens and away from where Fido does his business to help prevent insect infestation and diseases.

HOW TO CARE

Fruit trees like a well-kept area around their base. Keeping grass and weeds away is maybe easiest with shallow cultivation or wrapping of mulch. Fertilization is important to help keep trees full of great fruit-producing nutrients. Annual pruning is essential to keep trees manageable for harvesting and stronger for greater fruit loads.

If creating your own mini-orchard seems like a dream far off, it doesn’t have to be. With the steps above and a quick chat with our staff in the greenhouse, being the prime supplier for Grandma won’t be hard at all. 

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