Agri Leader

Plant fruit trees this winter

While most home gardeners plant new trees during the spring, fall and winter are also good times to add new trees to your yard or garden. In fact, the dormant season is the perfect time to add fruit and nut trees to your central Florida landscape. This gives new plantings time to become well established by spring, when they put on new growth. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your new additions. Space is a big consideration when choosing fruit trees. If you have plenty of room, you might want to consider the black walnut. These trees are very large, reaching up to 75 feet in height if left unpruned. However, they do produce adequate amounts of fruit a few years after planting. The fruit can be a nuisance to pick up, so keep that in mind when choosing a location for planting. Regular watering is important during the hot, dry months as walnuts can scorch during this time. Monitor your walnut trees for signs of pests such as mites, caterpillars and scales. Diseases may also be a problem, the most common being canker, leaf spot and blight.
Chinese chestnut is also a good choice for fall and winter planting. These trees produce fruit, but are also great shade trees. Chinese chestnut are quite striking, making them an excellent choice for use as specimen trees. These trees thrive in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Pests are not usually a problem but a few diseases can affect the tree's health and vigor. Fungal blight, canker and leaf spot can develop on chestnut but are not usually severe in healthy trees. If you are looking to add healthy fruits to your diet, persimmons are an excellent choice. These fruits are naturally fat-free and high in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins A and C. Persimmons are grown throughout Florida and thrive in our growing area. These trees are small to medium sized making it easy to find the perfect place in your yard. Just keep in mind you may have a mess if you plant them near your driveway when fruit begins to drop. Persimmons adapt well to just about any soil conditions and are drought tolerant. Caterpillars are the only real pest of persimmon and it isn't typically affected by disease. Leaf spot can occur but it is not fatal. Before planting your new trees, consider the size of tree at maturity and easy access to water. Light pruning when necessary will keep them healthy and producing high quality fruit. Not only will your trees give you delicious fruit to enjoy, but they can make your landscape setting more efficient. At maturity all of these trees can protect your home from sunlight and damaging winds. Trees also add value to your home. Adding new trees during the fall and winter will give them a good start before the spring growing season. With just a little tender-loving care, you will have plenty of fruit to enjoy for many years to come.