Why Plant Fruit Crops in the Fall?
Why would you want to plant fruit trees, berries and other hardy fruit crops in the fall? When you plant fruit crops in the fall, the root system has time to start growing without competing with leaf production which happens in the spring. Even though the bloom buds are already set for spring, the plant is not spending energy in the blooming and fruiting process. Therefore all of the energy can be used on root development. A good, strong root system, in turn, provides for healthy leaves, blooms, and fruit production which means larger and more abundant fruit!
Some things to keep in mind when planting fruit crops in the Fall: variety selection, location, fertilization, and watering.
When choosing which varieties of fruit to plant, choose ones that will work well together. For example, if you were planting a group of three blueberries, choose one that ripens early, one that ripens midseason, and one that ripens late. Also, make sure that at least one of the varieties you choose is a good pollinator. This way you can have more blueberries for a longer period of time at harvest.
Choose a location that will give your plants enough room to grow to its mature size. Make sure your plants will have plenty of sunlight. The soil needs to be rich inorganic matter and well drained. Some soils may need to be amended to meet this criteria. Check the pH of the soil as some fruit crops such as blueberries like an acidic soil. Adjust the pH if necessary using products such as Espoma® Soil Acidifier to lower the pH or Espoma® Garden Lime to raise the soil pH level.
When planting fruit crops in the fall, you can put fertilizer such as Osmocote® or Hi-Yield Growers Special. This type of fertilizer will slowly release the nutrients and feed your plants for a long period of time.
After planting, water your plants thoroughly making sure the moisture gets deep down to the root ball. Continue to water throughout the fall and winter months being careful not to keep your plants too wet. As a general rule of thumb, two or three times a week should be sufficient. If you get a good slow soaking rainfall, you can count that as watering.
If you have questions or need help choosing or planting fruit crops this fall, please call us at Willow Ridge Garden Center at 865-481-3825.