By Rebecca Gilbert, from Mrs Hath’s Forest Nursery.

Being my first column, I was unsure of what to write about, this is all new to me. Which made me think about all the ‘new’ buds appearing in the nursery.

It is time for deciduous planting and deciduous simply means the plant ‘sheds its leaves annually’. This includes ornamental, fruit trees and roses. 

But today let’s talk fruit trees.

There are three things to be mindful of when planting deciduous fruit trees at home. Pruning, planting and mulching. 

All deciduous trees (including ornamentals) should be pruned back by 30-50 per cent.

This encourages new growth and a denser foliage during the warmer months and in fruit trees it improves the quality of fruit being produced and should be done every year.

When planting you should always dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball, or the bigger the better really.
You should make sure your soil is good quality too.

We always recommend you mix your soil with some compost (we sell it in 30 litre bags) so your tree has all the nutrients it needs to start sprouting.

Avoid the use of fresh manure as it can burn the roots.  

All trees, gardens even pot plants should be mulched this helps keep the moisture in which means less watering and keeps the weeds out.

Which in the long run makes less work for you in the garden and let’s be honest, less work always sounds good! I would have to say though the most encouraging aspect of planting your own fruit trees, is knowing exactly what you are getting.

You know what has been sprayed onto the plant, you know the water it has been watered with and when you pick that ripe luscious fruit and sink your teeth into it, you know it is safe.

It is sustainable, cheaper, economical and kinder to the environment and better on your tummy and your wallet. 

(This is a regular column published weekly in the Gunnedah Times)

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