Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Category Archives: Plant care

Thinning Fruit—How?

Properly thinned fruit

I’ve already dis­cussed why you should thin fruit from your tree. Yes, you really should! I’ll men­tion one more rea­son now that I didn’t touch on in the last post: Many young, devel­op­ing, dwarf fruit trees tend to be pre­co­cious. That is, they often start bear­ing fruit in their sec­ond or third year of growth. Naturally, […]

Thinning Fruit Off Your Trees —Why?

Mother Nature has built in sur­vival by ensur­ing that fruit trees bear many more blos­soms than are needed for a full crop. How­ever, this cre­ates a catch-22 when more blos­soms grow and develop into more lit­tle fruit than the tree really can sup­port. Just as wisely, nature’s design includes the like­li­hood that not all developing […]

Why is my Little Fruit Falling Off my Fruit Tree?

The end result of June Drop and proper fruit thinning. Apple

Help, all the lit­tle fruit is falling off my tree!” is a lament I hear fre­quently from novice back­yard fruit grow­ers. If it’s three to four weeks after bloom, relax, that’s nor­mal.  First, it’s not likely that all the fruit is falling off. It may just appear that way if this is the first time […]

Mayhem in the Fruit Garden — Rodent Feeding and Winter Damage

White bud stage of apricots

As spring tries to arrive, it is time to assess the con­di­tion of our fruit gar­dens. In many parts of the Mid­west and East Coast, win­ter con­tin­ues to try to hold us and our fruit gar­dens hostage. Snow and sleet con­tinue to make what, we all hope, is the last appear­ance. Bit­ter cold does a […]

SweeTango — a Lesson Driven Home

Head­ing off to the Swee­T­ango grow­ers meet­ing saw my hus­band and I lit­er­ally expe­ri­enc­ing a 100°F tem­per­a­ture change in an 8 hour period; from –24°F (yes that is minus) in chilly north­ern Michi­gan to 75°F in Savan­nah, Geor­gia. It was a wel­come change for us humans! It is, how­ever, not one that would do fruit trees […]

Avoid Common Fruit Garden Mistakes

weeds around newly plnated fruit plants

When fruit gar­den­ers, espe­cially first-timers, come to me with their prob­lems, I often dis­cover those prob­lems have their roots in a few basic mis­takes or over­sights when the gar­den is first planted: Dream­ing too big With all the promises of “no main­te­nance” gar­dens and entic­ing descrip­tions of every fruit vari­ety that ever graced a nurs­ery cat­a­log we […]

Proactive Protection from Southwest Injury

While we north­ern fruit gar­den­ers enjoy these beau­ti­ful Indian Sum­mer days, we hate to think of the impend­ing win­ter. Yet this is the per­fect time to take a proac­tive approach to pro­tect­ing our fruit trees from win­ter dam­age. Now, while the weather is still warm is the ideal time to  paint the trunks of young […]