Though we love the taste of a fresh apple or pear, it’s unfortunate that most of us can only grow them in one season. Professionals and orchards get them to grow year ’round, so why can’t you? Imagine growing apples and pears all year, not just in the peak season of August and September! In order to do so, you must practice excellent upkeep and be wise with your planting, pruning, spraying and weed control.
Many people don’t know it, but different types of apples and pears peak at different times of the year. For example, a Gravenstein apple will be ripe and ready for harvest in August, while a Granny Smith isn’t ready until close to December. There are hundreds of other types and cross types that last between the two, and experimenting is always a possibility if you’re looking for life expectancy. Don’t expect for experimenting with different kinds to produce fast results, as it will take many years for the tree to grow and produce fruit. Either way, use what you know about the existing fruit types, and plant to stagger their harvest so you get to enjoy the results throughout the year, not just in one or two months.
Caring for your trees is the second key to ensuring they live and produce fruit as long as possible. Pruning is an often overlooked part of caring for your apple or pear tree, as it’s not technically an essential part of the life of the tree. In other words, you don’t need to prune to keep the tree alive. However, you’ll want to prune if you want to extend the quality of life of the tree, as well as the tree’s production. Do so regularly after the tree begins to bear fruit, as pruned areas will make room for more growth.
With regular watering, new branches and new fruit will generate quickly to fill in the freshly pruned area. On the other end of the spectrum, to skip the pruning process is to lessen the amount of fruit the tree is capable of for the season. Also, the useless branches that have since had fruit plucked continue to take nutrients from the fruit on the tree, depriving it of the food it needs to grow.
Weed control is an essential part of the life and quality of every plant, apple and pear trees included. Weeds deprive the trees of nutrients, so as long as they’re there, your tree isn’t growing as plentifully as it should. Over time, weeds left untended will strangle the life out of your tree, and it will produce less and less fruit over years. Simple weed control can be as easy as pulling weeds on a regular basis, suffocating them by covering them for a few days with newspaper or mulch or buying a chemical weed killer for spraying from the store. Always be careful not to get weed killer near or on your fruit trees, as you don’t want to accidentally stifle growth. You’ll notice once the weeds are gone how your tree produces more fruit for a longer period of time.
Essentially, if you stagger the variety of fruit that you’re wanting to produce for different harvesting times and then take very good care of your trees by pruning and controlling the weeds, you’ll increase the duration of the harvest and improve quality of life in your fruit tree.