A rework, updated from my 2011 post ‘Plant The Best Fruit / Nut Trees Suited To Your Temperature / Chilling Hours Zone.’
Fruit Varieties for Milder Climates
No matter where you live, now is a good time to plant your fruit and nut trees, whether they be bagged in burlap, potted or bare root. Follow planting guides for planting your fruit and nut trees.
Dig a hole 2 times as wide and deep as your trees root ball. Take a little extra care and be sure your new tree is setting straight up and not leaning off to one side.
Caution: Do Not Plant your new tree too deep! Plant it at the same depth as it was in the field (if bare root) or if potted or bagged, no deeper than the bag or pot it is currently in.
Home gardeners have killed many more trees and shrubs planting them to deep than have ever been killed planting them to shallow. If planted to deep, they may look fine for the first year or so, but, then suddenly with out apparent cause die. In this case you have wasted your money, time and effort on an avoidable problem. Keep the trees crown at or above the soil line when planting!
Winter watering is every bit as important as summer watering. To the eye that new tree is totally dormant needing little care through winter months. That is a very wrong assumption, trees continue to grow and develop their root systems all winter to support all that new growth appearing in spring and summer.
Important Chilling hour in the simplest terms 1 chilling hour is when the temperature is warmer than 32 degrees and cooler than 45 degrees. There are other factors that you should also consider. Fruit trees chilling hour requirements vary greatly between fruit type and even between species of the same fruit / nut tree species.
Common fruit tree Variety chilling hour requirements: Chilling Hour Chart
Some fruit and nut trees may require few (low) chilling hour needs 150-200 hours to very long chilling hour requirements as much as 1700 or more hours.
If a fruit tree does not get the chilling hours they need, you may have trees that ‘Never’ produce fruit or trees that always bloom too early in spring time and have buds, flowers and fruit severely damaged or killed every year by late season frost and freezing weather. A safe bet is to plant the same type and variety trees you see in your area that reliably produce good fruit crops every year. Don’t be Shy, ask other growers what species and variety does well for them.
Fertilizing your fruit tree(s). Roger Cook (This Old House) said “Most people don’t know that fruit trees need different fertilizer than other types of trees. Most trees get a fertilizer with a 4-1-1 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potash. But giving that much nitrogen to a fruit tree will encourage it to put out a tremendous flush of vegetative growth with very few flowers and not much fruit.
A low nitrogen 1-1-1 or 1-2-1 ratio is better. Ideally, the nitrogen component should be half water insoluble, or slow release, and half water soluble. Water-insoluble nitrogen breaks down slowly and feeds the tree over a period of months. Compost or horse and chicken manure are great slow release fertilizers. Water-soluble nitrogen breaks down all at once when it comes in contact with water and gives the tree a quick spurt.
Fertlize fruit in the fall or winter, before they go into dormancy and can’t absorb the nutrients. Check with a local nursery or co-operative extension service for the best time to do this in your area.”
Why is common sense so uncommon?
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