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Fruit trees are easy to grow in the southwest but often the fruit we yield is much smaller than what you see in the grocery store! If you grow fruit trees and would like to know “How to grow larger fruit” then this article is for you.
How to grow larger fruit in your backyard
Smaller fruit is usually what many beginner fruit tree growers get. Most do not have the information they need to help the fruit grow larger. It is the way nature intended, but it is possible to attain larger fruits without any genetic altering or added chemicals. There are two ways to get larger fruit and this is through good pruning techniques and the proper care of your fruit tree.
In the early stages of a fruit tree’s growth, professional fruit tree growers do something called “fruit thinning”. The theory behind this process is that with less fruit to pay attention to, the tree will be able to more efficiently send growth cells to the leftover fruits.
Typically when you have hundreds of little fruits on one tree, competing for the available space and nutrients necessary for growth, you will most likely end up with small fruit. Too inexperienced, gardeners this happens all the time. The solution is really simple you pluck a third of the fruit early on in the process. You should notice larger fruits at harvest time.
On almost any fruit tree, the success of each individual fruit depends on the spacing. Normally, there should not be any fruits within four to six inches of each other. During the fruit thinning process, this is the distance you should generally aim to optimize the amount of nutrition that each fruit gets. Any closer and you’ll find they are crowding each other out. This is the first mistake that a new fruit tree grower does. They say “WOW” this is great, but having tons of fruit starting to grow is not really a good thing!
There are times when it is not the fruit tree growers fault. During the process of cell division, all the fruits go through freezing temperatures. Fruit trees need so many chilling hours in order to produce fruit. The ideal chilling hours is between 32 ° and 45 ° degrees Fahrenheit. This can be good but too many days of below 32° Fahrenheit weather can be bad to the largeness of the fruits. Also, if the weather is particularly cloudy very early in the season, then fewer carbohydrates will be available to your fruit trees. It’s important to note that Photosynthesis requires sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to produce glucose. It is best to plant your fruit tree in full sunlight.
Not enough water
A lack of water, certain nutrients, or excessive bugs, and diseases can also damage the growth of fruits. If you notice these things going on early in the season, you should do more fruit thinning than normal. It could be as much as three-fourths of the fruits should come off, this will help increase larger yields of fruit. Sometimes, if the factors are all against the health of your fruit tree, then the fruits will drop to the ground before they are ripe.
Check your trees often
It’s also important to observe your tree during the early growing season. Finding evidence of bugs, diseases, or both at the very early stages of the problem will help ensure a healthy fruit tree at harvest time.
Use a good fruit tree fertilizer to feed your trees and use horticulture oil in the early spring season to prevent bug larvae from hatching. Spraying with neem oil to kill insect infestation is a good alternative to harsh chemicals. Borers are a big problem on fruit trees there are two products that will kill borers in fruit trees. Spinosad and BT Bacillus thuringiensis. These products are somewhat organic to humans however they will harm bees if they are in the area. Learn more about insects and diseases on trees and plants.
Birds seem to know when your apple, peach, pear or plum is ripe. This is when they will start pecking away at your fruit. Learn more about keeping birds away from your fruit trees.
How to grow larger fruit
Another good way to make larger fruit is to experiment. Remove half or less to see what the results would do? If your tree has been around for a while, there is almost nothing you can do to it to cause it to die or stop producing fruit. Using the thinning techniques on this post will help make your fruit larger.
Remember! The spacing of your trees should be spaced accordingly. Typically your fruit trees should be spaced about 20 ft. or more and about 10 ft. for true dwarf fruit trees. The age of your tree is also important. Did you know the average life span of most fruit trees is about 25-40 years? For more information on spacing and fruit tree age please visit this page. cals.arizona.edu
You can also visit your local nursery store and ask “How to grow larger fruit” on my fruit trees? They should give you advice based on your region and specific tree. So don’t settle with small fruits. Go out there and find out what exactly you need to do to improve the size of your fruit.
More information at – Fruit Trees for Desert Southwest
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com