What to Look for when Buying a Tree - Growing Fruit Trees - Permaculture Vegetable Gardening, Vegie Garden, Food Forest

What to Look for when Buying a Tree

Although the process of growing and caring for a tree is generally challenging and even difficult at times, sometimes one of the hardest parts is choosing which kind you want. You have to choose between the many sizes, fruit, and other attributes. The different sizes include: dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard. Your choice can affect everything about your growing experience, including the amount of work you have to put in and the amount of rewards (fruit) you will obtain.

Dwarf trees are ideal if you only have a limited amount of open space in your yard. They take up as little as only as eight-foot diameter plot of land. Although the dwarf fruit trees are smaller than the others, their fruit is just the same size and the shortness makes them easier to prune and harvest. Dwarf fruit trees aren’t known for living quite as long as larger fruit trees. They begin to bear fruit after three to five years, so if you are going to buy a dwarf fruit tree from a nursery you should always check and see how old it is.

Semi-dwarf trees are medium sized, and when they are full grown they take up a fifteen-foot diameter. Semi-dwarf fruit tree's height can range from as low as ten feet to as high as sixteen feet. To keep them from getting to large you should prune them at least once a year. Occasionally semi-dwarf fruit trees take a season off and produce little or no fruit, but mostly they produce hundreds of fruit every year. Many people enjoy having semi dwarf fruit trees because they produce more fruit than a dwarf tree, and they are generally easier to harvest and maintain than a standard fruit tree.

Standard sized fruit trees take up much more area the then any of the smaller tree varieties, and they are also harder to keep manageable and to harvest all of the fruit. If you do not prune them at least once a year they can grow as large as thirty feet. If you are just looking for a good tree to provide you with plenty of delicious fruit from and to keep your yard shady, a standard sized tree would be the perfect tree for you. Standard sized fruit trees take a very long time to reach their full height, but they usually begin to bear fruit after only three to five years.

The best variety of fruit tree to buy would be one that carries fruit and does well in your area, because a local fruit tree takes less work and grows the best. Although fruit trees bearing other, more exotic kinds of fruit may seem more exciting, they usually won't grow as well in your area. That’s not to say it’s impossible. You can definitely try to grow a more exotic tree, but it will take much more commitment and time.

Another factor involved in deciding on a type of tree is what kind of soil you have, because some trees do better in damp soil while others are better suited for drier soil. If it rains often in your area you would do well to plant a plum tree. But if you do not get very much rain you would do better to plant a pear tree or an apple tree. Before choosing which type of fruit tree you would like, consult your local nursery or gardening guru to find out which trees would do well in your area.

Other things that you should look for while looking for a fruit tree at the nursery are things like how sturdy it is, if all of the branches are evened out, how straight the tree stands, the condition of the roots that support the tree, the length of the stem, and the height of the fruit from the ground. Making a careful and deliberate decision can mean the difference between having the stunted fruit from your lopsided tree being eaten by animals all day long.

Recommended Viewing

Patch From Scratch & Cottage Gardens, by Peter Cundall and Gardening Australia Patch From Scratch & Cottage Gardens, by Peter Cundall and Gardening Australia (DVD). This is a combination of two videos that used to be sold separately on VHS. The "Patch from Scratch" video is really, really good if you want to learn from scratch about how to grow vegetables organically. In Patch from Scratch, Peter Cundall shows you step-by-step how to start a vegetable garden, beginning with an ordinary suburban lawn. He goes through each season (some of then broken into early and late) for 18 months, describing everything in amazing detail. There is so much information in this video you could watch it 100 times and still learn more. The only real criticism of it I can think of is that it is so densely packed with information, your brain gets saturated after 10 or 15 minutes. So don't expect to take it all in in one sitting. I would recommend watching it through all the way just for an introduction, and then watch just the section for each month that you are up to, and do what he explains in that month/season.

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Recommended Reading

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre, by  Brett L. Markham. NEW: Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre, by Brett L. Markham. Start a mini farm on a quarter acre or less, provide 85 percent of the food for a family of four and earn an income.

Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre — and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require.

Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more. Because self-sufficiency is the objective, subjects such as raising backyard chickens and home canning are also covered along with numerous methods for keeping costs down and production high. Materials, tools, and techniques are detailed with photographs, tables, diagrams, and illustrations.

Click here to purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to purchase from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Amazon

HOTSurvival, Self Sufficiency and Sustainable LivingThis book is the #1 Best Seller in Gardening & Horticulture Reference on Amazon

See Also

Return to Growing Fruit Trees

Sustainable Organic Farming
Starting Your Own Box Garden
Starting a Vegetable Garden
Vegetable Gardening Books
Return to Permaculture and Vegetable Gardening
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