In this first episode of the 2019 season, Hilary and Tara Austen Weaver discuss planning for, planting and growing fruit trees!
Fruit tress require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day during the peak growing season, ideally these hours would span the middle of the day.
Fruit tree spacing guidelines by growth habit:
dwarf trees: 6-7 feet
semi-dwarf: 12-15 feet
standard-size trees: 12-15 feet
Fruit trees do not grow “true to seed.” This means that if you planted a seed from your favorite apple, the tree that grew from that seed wouldn’t produce apples with the same qualities as the seed source. In order to replicate a specific fruit, a cutting must be taken from that tree and grafted onto rootstock.
A multi-graft tree is one that has multiple cultivars grafted onto one rootstock. (See the photo to the right from Smithsonian.com of an experimental tree with 40 types of fruit grafted onto one rootstock- not an example of what you’re looking for in a productive fruit tree, but defintely cool!)
When planting a fruit tree (or any grafted plant, for that matter), it’s important NOT to bury the graft!
Dig a hole at least two times the size of the trees roots and about the same depth
Do not amend the soil
Plant your tree so that the point in which the roots begin to spread a the base of the trunk (the crown flare) is at the soil line
Fill the hole back in with the same soil that was removed
Water trees deeply, and regularly for the first year after planting
Early spring is a great time to plant fruit trees becuase they’ll be watered in by spring rains for the first few months
A simple t-post and wire rope espalier trellising system:
Photos from Tara:
Books By Tara Austen Weaver
+other great fruit tree growing guides and inspiration:
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More about this weeks guest expert:
TARA AUSTEN WEAVER is a freelance writer, editor, and author of The Butcher & The Vegetarian (Rodale, 2010) and Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow (Ballantine, 2015), a memoir that chronicles how she and her family attempted to revive a long neglected Seattle garden and orchard. Tara's food blog, Tea & Cookies, established in 2006, was selected as one of the top 50 food sites in the world by both the Times of London and The Independent (UK) and has been featured on The Food Network, Saveur, Oprah.com, Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, Reddit, and Bonappetit.com. She is a trained Master Gardener, Permaculture Designer, and Master Composter/Soil Builder.
And…a little about this weeks bonus guest!
KELLIE PHELAN is a self-proclaimed gardening nerd and has a deep passion for knowing where our food comes from, how it’s grown, and what we put into our bodies. She loves to share her knowledge and passion with others, and co-hosted over 50 episodes of the Encyclopedia Botanica podcast! When Kellie’s not busy running The Works or in her garden, she enjoys spending time with her partner Matt and new twin babes Ace & Pepper.
About the Host:
Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food.