Home fruit growers may find it more difficult and expensive to grow high-quality tree fruit than small-fruit plants, such as strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and brambles. One reason for this is that many different pests and diseases plague tree fruits. Summer rainfall and high relative humidity favor the growth and spread of disease-causing organisms. Insects also are a challenge. Power-driven spray equipment is not practical for a small home planting, so getting spray into the canopy of a large fruit tree is difficult. Dwarf fruit trees are one solution because pesticides can be applied with hand-operated equipment.
Berries and grapes have definite advantages for home gardening. They require a minimum of space for the amount of fruit produced, and they bear at an early age. Their small stature makes disease and insect control easier and less expensive than with most tree fruits. But do not assume that diseases and insects cause less damage to small-fruit plants than to fruit trees.
Before undertaking an extensive home fruit planting, carefully consider the amount of time required. Discuss this commitment with other family members. If this is your first attempt at growing fruit, consider planting on a small scale to get a realistic idea of the demands.
Consider how much time you can devote before planting.
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