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Harvesting Healthy Stone Fruit: From Planting to Picking

Welcome back, fellow garden enthusiasts! Last week, we uncovered how to nurture citrus trees. This week, we’re getting to the core (pun intended) of it! You’re in for a treat because this week, we’re serving up a juicy guide to planting, caring for, and harvesting stone fruit.


First things first: planting. Timing is everything, folks! Traditionally, and for centuries, stone fruit have been preserved for the winter months by drying or canning. Now this might make you wonder, “Stone fruit in the cooler seasons?” Absolutely! Though some varieties may bear fruit in summer, many not only bear fruit in winter but also thrive in cooler climates. And guess what, most prefer not being planted during the hottest or coldest seasons, but right in between: either during autumn or as winter comes to an end.

Many stone fruit trees are deciduous, and planting some variants (like peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and plums) in the colder seasons when they are still dormant, gives them a chance to settle in and develop roots before they use their energy into spring growth.

There are a few varieties such as Japanese Persimmons that even bear fruit during the colder season, especially in milder climates or with appropriate protection.


So, how do you plant stone fruits? Let’s break it down into easy steps to ensure your stone fruit trees get off to the best start possible:

  1. Select the Perfect Spot:

Choose a sunny location in your garden with well-draining soil. Stone fruit trees love sunlight, so aim for a spot that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Avoid areas prone to waterlogging, as excess moisture can lead to root rot.

  1. Prepare the Hole for Planting:

Use a spade to dig a hole that’s twice as wide and deep as the tree’s root ball. This extra space will give the roots plenty of room to spread out and establish themselves. Break up any compacted soil at the bottom of the hole to encourage healthy root growth.

  1. Position the Tree:

Carefully remove the tree from its container and gently loosen the roots if they’re tightly packed. Place the tree in the centre of the planting hole, making sure it sits at the same depth as it was in the container. The graft union (where the stem is attached to the root) should be slightly above the soil level.

  1. Backfill and Water: 

Now mix in a good amount of organic compost with the soil that’s dug out and fill the hole. Fill in the hole with soil, gently firming it around the base of the tree to remove any air pockets. Give the tree a thorough watering to help settle the soil and eliminate any remaining air pockets. This initial watering is crucial for helping the roots make contact with the soil and kickstarting the tree’s growth.

  1. Mulch for Moisture Retention: 

Spread a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of the tree. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature. Leave a small gap between the mulch and the trunk to prevent rot and disease.

  1. Support and Protect:

Depending on the size and variety of your tree, you may need to provide additional support in the form of stakes or ties to keep it upright until the roots establish themselves. Consider installing a tree guard or barrier to protect the trunk from damage by lawnmowers, trimmers, or pests.

By following these simple steps, you’ll give your stone fruit trees the best possible start in life, setting them up for years of healthy growth and abundant harvests.

Now, let’s talk TLC – tree-lov ing care, that is! Here’s what you need to know:

Pruning Stone Fruit:

Use a reliable lopper to remove dead or diseased branches to promote healthy growth and improve air circulation within the tree. Additionally, prune for shape and structure, aiming for an open-centred canopy to allow sunlight to penetrate and encourage fruit production.

Remember: Pruning any plant will make it grow in different ways. Simply cutting a fruit tree at the top or trimming all the side branches won’t do the trick. You need to let the sun and fresh air reach the tree. If you don’t prune stone fruit correctly, you’ll end up with more leaves and weak branches. Peach trees, for instance, need judicial pruning as the fruit is produced on the tips of the previous season’s growth.

  1. Watering Stone Fruit:

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Deep, infrequent watering is ideal, ensuring the roots have access to water without being overly saturated. Consider using a micro kit to deliver water directly to the root zone.

Pest Management:

Keep a close eye on your stone fruit trees for signs of pests like aphids, scales, and fruit flies. Consider implementing integrated pest management strategies, such as introducing beneficial insects, using organic pesticides sparingly, and practising good garden hygiene by removing fallen fruit and debris. Use our guide to conquer pests with household remedies.

Ready to Harvest Your Healthy Stone Fruit

Guess  what, Garden Masters? We have some fantastic products to accompany your stone fruit journey. Visit any MakroGame or Builder’s Warehouse near you for the tools you need to cultivate a flourishing stone fruit orchard right in your backyard.

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