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Edible horticulture for the backyard

There are many reasons why one should consider a fruit tree for their urban backyard. After planting a fruit tree you can look forward to enjoying the fresh home grown taste of newly ripened fruits. You can control the quality of the fruit as it pertains to pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use. A single tree can produce a lot of fruit for many years with little maintenance. This can save money spend on store brought fruits over many years. Growing unusual species can provide variety in ones diet and encourage others to expand their fruit tree varieties. Besides fruit, fruit trees often have beautiful flowers in the spring and some varieties have ornamental significance as shade trees or specimen trees. What could be the best attribute to planting fruit trees is the sense of accomplishment and connectedness, albeit in your backyard, with nature.

When deciding on whether or not to plant a fruit tree and what type one must take a few key things into consideration. For a fruit tree to be productive there is often additional maintenance required than with a tree planted purely for aesthetic purposes. Many fruit trees require pruning to keep fruit accessible and to provide for high fruit productivity. The need for pruning can be minimized by selecting a dwarf or semi dwarf cultivar instead of a full size tree. Dwarfism is determined by the root stock so special attention should be paid to this trait. Dwarf cultivars can also be used when space is limited and provided for increased versatility in plant placement. However these trees will not provide any shade. Some species may need multiple trees to successfully pollinate and produce fruit. If there are no other similar trees in the vicinity there may be a need to plant more than one of that specific type of tree. Much of the increased maintenance and other special considerations concerning fruit trees are specific to individual fruits and will be noted with the according types.

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Last Updated: 9/28/10