Tree Fruits

Keys for Success

Choose cultivars that are hardy in your area. Dwarf cultivars bear fruit earlier than standard trees and are easier to manage in home plantings.

Except for peaches (which are self-fruitful), plant at least two different cultivars for good pollination.

Start with nursery-grown one- or two-year-old bare-root plants. Older plants are more difficult to train.

Choose a site with good air drainage that is not vulnerable to late spring frosts.

Plant trees in early spring as soon as the soil has warmed and drained. Begin preparing soil (adjust pH and add organic matter) and controlling weeds a year before planting.

Mulch with bark or wood chips to provide a grass-free zone within 2 feet of each tree.

Stake dwarf and semi-dwarf trees, and commit to timely pruning and fruit thinning.

Protect trees from deer, rodents, and other pests and diseases.

Tree fruits became popular in America in the early 19th century, thanks, in part, to the efforts of John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed.

Today, New York is the nation's second-leading apple producer. The Northeast also produces significant quantities of sweet and tart cherries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, and apricots. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, New York, maintains one of the world's foremost tree fruit breeding programs and a collection of apple germplasm from around the world.

Tree fruits are classified according to the type of fruit they produce. Apples and pears are pome fruits. They are fleshy with several seed chambers. Stone fruits have a hard pit in their center and include cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots.

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