5 easy things to do to en­sure a fruit­ful fu­ture

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature | Orchard Planting Strategies -

1 Plant the right tree for your area

We’re lucky to have a wide range of fruit trees to plant, in­clud­ing an ev­er­in­creas­ing num­ber of her­itage va­ri­eties. But even in New Zealand’s rel­a­tively tem­per­ate cli­mate, there are al­ways go­ing to be trees that just won’t work in your re­gion. If you want to grow cher­ries, Northland isn’t the place for you (un­less you choose the ca­puli or ca­pulin cherry, Prunus sali­ci­fo­lia, a sub­trop­i­cal va­ri­ety). If you’re a South­lander who loves ba­nanas, it’s not likely to hap­pen with­out a lot of help from a heated green­house.

You’re go­ing to have more suc­cess and be more pro­duc­tive if you do a lit­tle re­search be­fore­hand and choose trees that will suit your macro­cli­mate (your re­gion), meso­cli­mate (your block and the area im­me­di­ately sur­round­ing it), and mi­cro­cli­mate (the area of your block where your orchard is sited).

2 Dig a good-sized hole

A tree is only as good as its roots, so tak­ing the time to dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root­ball is time well in­vested. Don’t dig it too deep though. As a tree set­tles, it will sink and if it goes too low in the soil you risk it be­ing wa­ter­logged and/or its fine sur­face roots be­ing starved of oxy­gen, stunt­ing the tree’s growth or killing it over time.

3 Know from the start what you want your trees to be

You could have an orchard full of dwarf va­ri­eties, you could prune ev­ery­thing to be a spe­cific height, or you could go for an all-nat­u­ral height and spread. What­ever you wish to do, you need to plan it be­fore you get plant­ing so you get spac­ings right (remember to al­low room for a trac­tor or truck to get ac­cess), to al­low for ir­ri­ga­tion if re­quired, and room for trees to spread out if they need it.

Ca­pulin cherry, Prunus sali­ci­fo­lia

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