Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Have Healthy, Fresh Fruit Trees

(NAPSI)-You may love the idea of picking fresh oranges, apples or peaches right off your own fruit trees. If so, you should consider these tips to help ensure any fruit tree you buy is healthy and will reward you each year.

Preparing Your Garden

Fruit trees require adequate patience and preparation, from providing the right location and fertilization to proper pruning and pollination. The best locations are in full sun and will have well-drained soil. You should also protect them from strong winds. If space is limited, you might want to consider smaller trees that can be planted close together. Some dwarf trees can even be kept indoors in pots when the weather's really cold.

To provide proper pollination, consider the availability of natural pollinators in your area, such as wild honeybees, which have been in decline. Also, some varieties will produce fruit when pollinated by pollen from their own flowers ("self-fruitful"), while others require pollen from another variety ("self-unfruitful"). Combine different types of fruit trees that blossom in different seasons for fruit almost all year long.

Identifying a Healthy Tree

Once you've determined the right conditions, now you want to select a healthy tree. Keep in mind that many plants are prone to disease that can have devastating consequences. For example, Citrus Greening Disease is threatening all citrus fruit trees throughout the U.S. and could potentially affect the entire citrus industry. Trees infected with this disease produce misshapen fruit that remains green even when ripe. This disease will eventually kill the tree.

Knowing the Source

Because of diseases such as Citrus Greening, some plant purchases are restricted. The entire state of Florida is currently under federal quarantine and no citrus trees can be shipped from the state. Other states, such as Louisiana, have specific counties under quarantine. There are federal fines for shipping plants from quarantined areas, even when purchasing online.

Learning More

As with any plant, be prepared by doing your homework. Your state's agricultural cooperative extension office is a great resource to help ensure that you get trees from the right source. To get the facts on citrus plant quarantines, visit www.saveourcitrus.org.

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