No doubt about it, there’s nothing like a bowl of apples on your table that you’ve picked from your very own tree, and canning your own peach and pear preserves can be a satisfying labor of love! But fruit trees are more time consuming, and have more issues than other trees, and you should be aware that there is definitely more of a time commitment involved. First, fruit trees are pickier than other trees. They absolutely need at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sun for decent fruit production; 7 to 8 hours is better. They also need plenty of consistent watering to produce; but they’ll die if they are overwatered. Fertilizing a fruit tree is also more complicated. A fruit tree needs the regular compliment of fertilization, but then it needs additional nitrogen right after the tree has flowered, and then again 3 weeks later. Know that you need to keep the tree’s base and site clean. The rotting fruit it produces can attract disease and insects. Thin the fruit if you have too many after flowering; your tree can only support so much, and if it is overloaded, it may just drop/abort all the fruit. Know that the squirrels and birds like the fruit just as much as you do, and make peace with this battle; it will happen no matter what. Finally, know that fruit trees are messy, and that they will need far more attention than a normal tree does. Insects and other diseases can attack all of a sudden, so they need to be watched daily. There’s a long learning curve with fruit trees, because you only get one batch of fruit per year, so you only get one lesson per year. If you have several fruit trees, it can become a full time hobby!
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