Spring Gardening essentials

       It’s springtime again, the frost is abating and the birds are out and chirping. The cool of winter has left and with it comes the possibilities and excitement for the summer months to come. All of the blooms that will soon be out and the grass that will be turning greener unfortunately wont do it on it’s own and needs a little attention to get that spring garden blossoming. We would all love a garden that transitions from winter to spring without us having to lay a finger but that is not the way of the suburban backyard! They require our attention and love if our plants are to flourish. So to make the most of your spring garden it’s good to be equipped with the right tools. If you walk into a gardening center chances you will be all too quickly overwhelmed with choice. There is an appliance and piece of equipment for everything these days, no matter how simple, and cruising down the isles it can be hard to know what you really need and what is just a cheap gimmick or trend that will end up doing more time hanging on your garden shed wall that actually being useful. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the essentials of your spring gardening and maintenance. Discover what you will suit you and your garden style.

 

Shovels

There a quite a few types of shovels around, and with a lot of choice it can get confusing. With trenching shovels, drain shovels, scoop shovels, scrapers, edger’s and post-hole diggers it’s enough to have you mind swimming. So we’ve narrowed it down to the types of shovels you will actually use on a day-to-day basis for reclaiming your spring garden.

Here are the kinds of shovel you’re most likely to use when doing light work and light work around your garden.

Square Shovel

The square shovel is made for digging in harder soils. With its sharp tip and flat scoop Its ideal for moving soil around, getting loads of gravel and scooping and distributing fertilizer and mulch

Spade

A spade is usually shorter handled than it’s cousin the square shovel. They have sharp edges that are perfect for cutting into lawn or earth to make holes that you can plant in. This works best when they are kept sharp to it’s good to have some sharpening tools in your shed and keep an eye out for a dull edge.

Pointed Digger

The pointed digger has a pointed tip that you would use if your soil was slightly more rock filled. The advantage of having a narrower tip means being able to dig a bit deeper and cut through the rockier soil with ease.

Round Digger

With it’s rounded tip, the round digger is perfect for soft soil and a great companion when wanted to transplant plants. Because of the way your force is transferred though digging, these allow you to drive into the ground a little easier than your regular square shovel.

 

Pruners 

Pruning back your plants every year is essential to cut away the dead or straggling limbs and allow the plant to give more strength to new young branches and allow them to thrive. Many plants will suffer greatly if not pruned annually or even bi annually. This is an important job but like with a lot of gardening tasks can be time consuming and while not physically labor intensive can still cause some stress to your fingers hands and arms so choosing the right pruners for the job you are doing and also ones that will be comfortable and fit your hand shape right is of up most importance. Here are the three main pruning types you will use in your home garden.

Anvil Pruners

Anvil Pruners have a straight single blade that has a splitting action that will cut down directly on a branch or stem of a plant.

Ratchet Pruners

These are similar to the anvil, their main point of difference being that they cut in stages due to a different mechanism. Often used by people who have more sensitive wrists and are worried about over straining or damaging their joints.

Bypass Pruners

The bypass pruners are more like scissors but with curved blades. These make nice clean cuts when used correctly and are most often used when pruning green stems.

Gloves

Some people love the feel of the earth on their hands while they are planning and growing, but for others spending hours scrubbing out dirt from under their nails is not all that appealing. Gardening gloves are not only for protecting the superficial however and can be a great tool that makes handling rougher and thorned plants a lot easier. With a few sorts to choose from we show you the most used gloves and their uses so you can make the decision that is best for the work you will be doing in them.

Cloth Gloves

Cloth gloves are mostly made of cotton. These are the kind of gloves you would use for doing your light planting, mixing in your soil by hand and also as a light protection while using shovels or rakes. Some cloth gloves can be reinforced with leather patches to make them a bit hardier, but on the whole they are not a durable glove and as they are inexpensive will need to be replaced a bit more often.

Leather Gloves

Softer leather gloves made from sheep or goatskin are the ideal for a long day planning of digging in the back yard. They are far more durable than the cloth so invest in a pair that are comfortable and will wear in nicely. These gloves are great at keeping moister off your hands and being a protection against light thorns and brambles. But if you are planning on doing a lot heavier and abrasive work then you should consider some tougher cowhide or pigskin gloves.

Rubber and PVC-Coated Gloves

These gloves are great to use as protection against spiky plants and are also good if you will be working in a muddy area as the damp wont soak through and it easier to wash off than it’s leather counterpart. You can also get these gloves in a longer length so you can get right into your prickly bushes without cutting up your arms.

When buying gloves make sure to first try them on to test the size and comfort factors. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in the garden all day long.

Hoses

It may sound obvious but a good hose is an essential and with hoses there can be more than meets the eye. Choosing a good hose in not only about length, width and durability but also about the attachments and nozzles you use that will suit your style of garden.

There’s a few things you need to consider before purchasing your garden hose; length, width and material. Bellow we give you the run down.

Hose Length

You don’t always want the longest hose you can find, long hoses can end up getting a lot more kinks and are harder to store. Take some measurements of your property and see how much area you will have to cover to make sure your hose stretched just the right amount, then make your calculations from there.

Hose Width

The width is to do with the volume of water you will want coming out the end at the one time. If you have mainly flowers and herbs in your garden you are not going to want a big thick hose but instead a thinner one so you don’t flood your plants. But if it’s a lot of trees or thicker rooted plants in harder soil you need to get water too then a wider hose will be for you.

Hose Material

Most hoses are made from vinyl or rubber or can be a combination of both, here are the advantages and disadvantages.

Vinyl Hose

Vinyl hoses are the cheapest option and also the most lightweight which can be an advantage for some. But with that also comes a less durable item that kinks more easily and can crack if left out in the sun for too long. If you only have a small garden and not a whole lot of space then a vinyl hose can be a good alternative for you.

Rubber Hose

These are the stronger hose by far but with that strength comes a heavier model and a bigger price tag. The rubber hose can handle hot water better and so can be better for hot climates where the water heats under the ground. These will not kind as easily as the vinyl also and in general are just a sturdier hose.

Reinforced Hose

A reinforced hose had a mesh lining between its layers of rubber and vinyl and are praised for being able to handle high water pressure levels and have a better resistance to kinking and splitting. But don’t be fooled by thinking that extra layers means strength, rubber hoses are still generally the stronger option.

 

When buying a rubber or vinyl hose remember that they can leach some chemicals into the water through time so it is best not to drink from them of fill your pets bowls with water from them. There are other chemical free options if this is a big concern for you.

Hose Nozzles

Once you’ve picked the right hose type for you, take a look again at what function you will want your hose to preform. Do you want a high pressure sprayed for your car or boat as well as your plants or do you only want a gentle mister? A lot of nozzles come with a few different settings and some even come with locking mechanisms, which can be perfect if you have young one who don’t understand about saving on water!

Traditional Straight Nozzle

The Traditional Nozzle is a straight nozzle made from either metal or plastic that uses a twist function to allow more and less water through. Twisted fully in one direction it will release a hard straight spray style and then back the other back it will seem to be completely turned off. This is great if you want more of a directional spray, just be aware when turning twisting it off to not keep the hose running for too long or the build up of water pressure can sometime take the nozzle off completely.

Pistol Grip Nozzle

This nozzle is shaped to be held; yep you guessed it, like a pistol, applying pressure with your hand will turn it on. These nozzles often have a few different setting from a hard stream to a fine mist and then with their round shape can also produce a watering can like flow. These are great for watering flowers and fragile plants and covering a larger area at once.

Fan Nozzle

The fan nozzle spread’s it’s water out in a flatter fan shape and usually has only one spray setting. This kind of attachment is best used to cover large areas and is perfect for new lawns or dampening soil after seeding. The flow is often more gentle with the fan nozzle so you don’t have to worry about damaging plants with a heavy flow.

Get Into Spring!

With so many amazing tools out there to help you with your spring garden there really is no excuse not to get out into the yard and start reclaiming the beauty of your outdoor space.

5 Best Grasses for Homes in California

top 5 grasses to grow in california

Do you have a beautiful backyard at your home? Ever wanted to cover your backyard with grass but not sure to which grass is best suitable for your conditions? Today there are hundreds of different types of grasses available and the process of selecting one that best suits your conditions can be really difficult and confusing.

If you are residing in and around California, and are looking to have a beautiful green grass lawn, you would know the type of grass you need and whether the grass you’re choosing would go with the soil in your backyard.

The grass that best suits any region depends on a number of factors like water requirement, type of soil and climatic conditions. Other factors that can be considered before selecting a particular grass are level of maintenance required, look and texture, cost, ease of installation and length of the grass.

1. Bermuda Grass

bermuda grass

Bermuda grass is one of the best types of grass that suits the conditions of California. Believed to have arrived in America from Bermuda, the grass blades have rough edges and a greyish green color.

  • Water Requirement: It requires a decent amount of watering.
  • Maintenance Required: Very low maintenance required. Just do not forget that you have planted them in your garden and you’d be fine.
  • Cost: The grass has a fine turf even after its low cost, which can make it a great buy.
  • Installation ease and feel: Easy to install and comfortable feel, making this a good buy for newbies to the world of gardening.
  • Length: The length is usually short and usually ranges between 4-6 inch.
  • Climatic Conditions: It is more preferable under warm climatic conditions. The favorable climate temperature ranges between 24-37 degrees.
  • Type of Soil: Bermuda grass grows best in saline soils so it’s important to check the soil salinity in your backyard.
  • Best time to plant: The best time to plant it is during summers for a healthy growth.
  • Other Details: It has a high traffic tolerance and high resistance to droughts.

2. St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass is also a type of grass with flat and broad leaf blades with a dark green color and usually form a thick layer.

  • Water Requirement: St. Augustine grass requires frequent watering, so you need to ensure that you would be able to tend to your garden daily.
  • Maintenance Required: The level of maintenance required ranges from medium to high based on different situations.
  • Cost: The cost of the grass is high compared to others.
  • Installation ease and feel: The installation process is simple and the grass gives extremely soft feel.
  • Length: The length of the grass usually is between 1.75’’ to 2.00’’ (inches).
  • Climatic Conditions: It is best suitable for tropical and sub-tropical regions with warm climate.
  • Type of Soil: It grows best in soils with pH value ranging between 5.0 and 8.5.
  • Best time to plant: It is usually grown in summer and spring.
  • Other Details: It has low tolerance to traffic and droughts and requires frequent fertilization.

3. Bahia Grass

Bahia Grass

Bahia grass is one other type of grass that is best suited for conditions of California. Also known as ‘Common Bahia’, the leaf blades are flat, hairless and textured.

  • Water Requirement: It has a very low water requirement, so you do not have to worry about watering them everyday.
  • Maintenance Required: Low maintenance makes it more desirable when compared to other grasses.
  • Cost: It has a very low cost.
  • Installation ease and feel: Easy installation and the grass is very soft giving a comforting feel.
  • Length: It is a low growing grass with the blades around an inch long.
  • Climatic Conditions: Warm climatic condition is suitable for its growth.
  • Type of Soil: Sandy Soil with high saline content is favorable.
  • Best time to plant: The best time to grow the grass is during the summers.
  • Other Details: It has high traffic tolerance and high resistance to droughts.

 

4. Buffalo Grass

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is a perennial warm season grass that forms a thin layer and suitable for the conditions of California. It has a very thin turf with soft blue green leaves and a fine texture.

  • Water Requirement: Occasional watering is required.
  • Maintenance Required:  It requires very less maintenance.
  • Cost: The cost is very low compared to other types of grass.
  • Installation ease and feel: The process of installation is very easy and gives a comfortable feel.
  • Length: It usually grows 2-5 inches high if left untouched.
  • Climatic Conditions: Hot climate with high temperatures is also tolerable.
  • Type of Soil: It grows best in moist soil.
  • Best time to plant: The planting of buffalo grass seeds should be usually done in spring or early summer for best growth.
  • Other Details: It has a high tolerance to traffic and high temperatures and requires little fertilisation.

5. Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass, also known as ‘Common meadow grass’ is a perennial grass that grows well in cold and moist climates. It usually has a dark green color linear leaves with boat-shaped tips.

  • Water Requirement: Kentucky bluegrass requires regular watering.
  • Maintenance Required: The maintenance required is low.
  • Cost: It is very cheap and most common and popular cool season grass.
  • Installation ease and feel: It is very easy to plant and has high-quality texture with a comfortable feel.
  • Length: It is a tall growing grass with average height reaching as much as 60 inches if left untouched.
  • Climatic Conditions: The grass grows well in cold and moist climates making this one of the best buys if you live in California.
  • Type of Soil: It grows best in well-drained and fertile soil, so you can easily grow it in your backyard along with fruit trees.
  • Best time to plant: Late spring or summer is the best time to plant the grass.
  • Other Details: It has low tolerance to traffic and droughts and needs regular fertilization and decent amount of sunlight for optimum growth.

 

No matter which grass type you’re buying for your garden in the backyard, do remember to tend to your lawn every day. It will ensure that the plants remain healthy and you’ve a lawn that you’re proud of.

5 Best Lawn Fertilizers for the Backyard

best 5 lawn fertilizers

Why are Fertilizers Needed for Grass or Lawn?

When an individual buys a home, there are many different things that they will be responsible for. Taking care of the lawn around the home properly is one of the very first orders of the day, and is an ongoing process. This is because the lawn can grow too high and cause several different hazards like snakes and other little annoying critters appearing in the wrong places. It is also important to maintain the lawn so that it looks pleasing to anyone who passes by. Either way, it is essential that the owner does not neglect this area of their investment if they want to display the best look possible and reap a bigger profit if they decide to sell.

That said, taking care of the backyard of a home comes with many different challenges. In some cases, the lawn may grow like wild fire or it may not grow at all. To resolve the problem that the owner is experiencing, it is essential that they do their homework in advance. For instance, if the lawn is not growing healthy as it really should, there are a diversity of ways to correct these problems. One of the most common and notable is ensuring the lawn has the nutrients that it needs. This is one of the primary reasons why most people use fertilizers to build up and grow a lawn in their backyard that is healthy, green and thick.

How often should you fertilize your lawn?

As previously mentioned, the lawn needs nutrients to grow properly. However, before the owner begins to provide the lawn with the nutrients that it needs, there are some things that they should know. In specific, the timing for fertilizing the lawn can be vastly different based on the location in which the owner of the home lives and the growing season. For instance, if the person lives in the South, the requirements for fertilizing the grass is usually in the spring and the summer months. On the other hand, if the individual lives in the North, the fertilizer should be used in the fall and spring seasons. Of course, it is also important to feed the grass as often as possible without over feeding it. As a general rule of thumb, however, it is important to note that the more the owner feeds the grass, the more that it will grow. Additionally, the owner will also need to be familiar with other factors about this topic including knowing when the growth cycle is. For it is in these times, that the fertilizer is not only a requirement for that specific time, but a necessity if they want their lawns to flourish.

Safety First – Precautions when using Fertilizing Chemicals

fertilizer safety

Fertilizing the lawn is a chore that owners have to do every year in order to make sure the grass on the lawn grows as healthy as it possible. Fortunately, there are many different ways to do it since the industry provides a wide variety of different tools and equipment to make these jobs much easier. Before starting the process, people should always make sure that the family is following the appropriate safety precautions. Specifically, as it relates to handling these types of hazardous chemicals on a fairly regular basis. That said, here are some tips and recommendations that can be used to keep the family and their pets safe.

Store the Fertilizer in Cool Dry Places

To keep the family and pets safe from harm, it is important that the homeowner keeps the fertilizer stored in the right place so that no one is accidentally injured or harmed. Fortunately, there are guidelines that professionals in the industry have used and shared over the years, and they should be followed as closely as possible if the owner does not want to experience any negative results in or around their homes. So, one of the most basic guidelines is to store the fertilizer in a cool dry place that is far away from the reach of children and the family’s pets. For instance, some people prefer to keep it in their garage area, which means it is outside of the home at all times. To keep it out of reach of children who enter the garage area, it is very important to place it up high on shelves so that they cannot reach even when they are trying (too far up for them to reach it from a chair). For extra precautions, the garage door should also be locked after each use from anyone who should not have any access to it.

Use Gloves When Handling

Because of all of the hazardous chemicals normally contained inside the fertilizer, it should also be handled safely by putting on gloves before the person begins to start handling it. For instance, because fertilizer contains nitrogen, which can cause mild to severe burns if it is not handled right, especially since the nitrogen is a chemical that should not be touched with the bare hands. However, in the situations or circumstances where someone inadvertently touches these chemicals, they should wash that part of the body with running water immediately. In case the fertilizer affects them anyway, (i.e. burning, redness of the skin) the homeowner should contact their physician right away.

After Application Guidelines

Once the fertilizer has been applied to the lawn, it is important for the homeowner to follow through carefully with certain precautionary measures. Meaning until the lawn has been watered or it rains on the lawn, children and pets should be kept off the grass. To keep the neighbors near these areas safe, it is also best to notify them too to avoid any unnecessary problems.

Read the Instructions Closely

Because each manufacturer knows their products and the risks associated with them, there may be some special guidelines that must be observed for use. So, before the owner of the home begins to use a specific type of lawn care product, it is essential that they read the instructions on the package first. Because some products are organic and others are not, knowing the difference between the two is critical.

Reviews for the 5 Best Fertilizers for the Backyard

#1 – Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Milorganite-Organic-Nitrogen-Fertilizer

Milorganite 62036-MW Organic Fertilizer is on the list as being one of the most trusted names in the lawn care industry. In fact, it is not uncommon for this fertilizer to not only be used in the back yard of a home, but also in professional setting like golf courses and zoological foundations. This is because this lawn care product has earned its trust in the industry. Even though this product is made specifically for lawn grass, it is still versatile enough to be used in other areas of the lawn including in the trees, flowers, and the shrubbery.

This product has been Formulated with heat-treated microbes and contains both nitrogen (5%) and phosphorus (2%), along with.3 percent potassium. It’s also made with other essential ingredients that provide a wide range of nutrients like manganese, copper, sulfur, and zinc. This fertilizer is also safe to be used around kids and pets and can be applied to the lawn anytime its growing season, in any climate.

see price here…

#2 – Miracle-Gro 1001832 Lawn Food

Miracle-Gro 1001832 Lawn Food

Miracle-Gro Lawn Food can be described in a number of different ways. First of all, it is a fertilizer that is easy to use, and its affordable so homeowners do not have to pay a high price to purchase it. Also, because the ingredients are so concentrated, the homeowner may only need to feed their lawn no more than once or twice each season. In fact, all the owner need is at least 1 – 5 pound box that will cover an area of 4000 square feet. This fertilizer is made specifically for those who do not like all of the unnecessary hassles of fertilizing the lawn, but they still want an exceptionally great looking backyard to entertain their family and friends in.

see price here…

#3 – Scotts Turf Builder All Season Lawn Fertilizer

Scotts 26007B Turf Builder Southern Lawn Fertilizer

Another industry favorite is Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food. In fact, many professionals in the lawn care field may deem this product as one of the best known lawn fertilizers in the world. This is because most homeowners will find that their grass will simply thrive on all of the ingredients in this formula. Made with nitrogen and potassium, the owner can purchase about 12 pounds to feed a lawn that covers about 5000 square feet. The recommended feeding time frame with this product is about 6 to 8 weeks during that areas growing season.

In comparison to other well-known brands, this fertilizer has a high priority position on the top of the list of the least expensive fertilizers in the industry. Additionally, most professionals and homeowners prefer this type of fertilizer as their number one choice because it helps to holds water inside the soil. Meaning this fertilizer has been designed to keep the grass hydrated for much longer periods of time. Due to its popularity as one of the best fertilizers, this product can be found virtually anywhere. Even though Scotts Turf Builder Lawn food is not organic or made of all natural fertilizer products, it is still made with kid and pet friendly ingredients. Many homeowners prefer this fertilizer because it protects the lawn against various kinds of future problems, helps with building strong and deep roots, improves the lawn’s capability to absorb the nutrients and water that is needed. It can be used on any type of grass and in any season. Another great benefit that many homeowners love is everyone is able to re-enter the lawn again without having to wait for a rain storm or the lawn to be watered after its application.

see price here…

#4 – Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer

Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer

Here’s another great fertilizer that people may or may not know about and that is the fertilizer called Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn fertilizer. This fertilizer gives the owner of the home the biggest value for their bucks. The ingredients contained in this product comes from a diversity of sources including nitrogen from feather meal, while it also uses bone meal in order to release the nutrients slowly in the soil. Soybean is used to keep the concentration even because it used as a filler. With this slow release formula, owners will enjoy thick grass growth as it also chokes out all of the weeds naturally. The amount supplied in a 25-pound bag is enough to cover the space of 5000 square feet. Because it is based on an organic formula, it is safe for both kids and pets. One of the best features about this product is it works well when other fertilizers don’t.

see price here…

#5 – Espoma ELF20 20-Pound Organic All Season Lawn Food

Espoma-ELF20-20-Pound-Organic-Season

The maker of this fertilizer has been in business for approximately 90 years, and has a solid reputation for manufacturing the highest quality products. Second to none, Espoma ELF20 20-Pound Organic All Season Lawn Food, is on the list of the top favored fertilizers in the industry. Even though this brand is a little more expensive, it is considered to be well worth the investment, especially since it has been made to rival with any of the top rated products on the market today. Buyers who want organic formulas to feed their grass will be happy to know that it is safe for kids, pets and anyone who enters the property after it has been applied to the back yard. The amount needed to feed a 1000 square foot lawn is about 3.3 pounds. It is also recommended that the lawn be fed at least 4 times a year during the geographical location’s growing season.

see price here…

Summing Up

Taking care of the backyard of a home can be a challenging experience. However if the owner of the home does their research well in advance, they can identify the top fertilizers that many in the lawn care industry are recommending today. Fortunately, there are a products online that people can review to see which ones will provide the best treatment for the grass and yield the best results.

How to Build your Own Backyard Fruit Tree Orchard

diy backyard orchard

The idea of having an orchard summon up pictures of vast amounts of land with row and rows of trees. While this is usually the case for those that are creating a business out of growing fruit, it does not necessarily mean that everyone should go down that route. Since not everyone can dedicate a large amount of space for growing such a large orchard, there are other ways to grow fruit. One such way is creating a small orchard right in your own backyard.

Many times people think that growing fruit will be a challenging task. But growing an orchard is not a difficult task and your payoff will be a vast amount of fruit. From just one tree, you can expect to harvest lots of fruits for the next twenty years. Having your own orchard means that you will be able to make yours an organic orchard. This means that you will no longer worry about your fruit being covered in pesticides. Continue reading to find out more…

Step-by-Step Guide to Create your very Own Backyard Orchard

  1. Selecting Trees

selecting the right trees

One of the first things you will want to take into consideration is which types of tree you want to plant. When it comes to a backyard an orchard dwarf or semi-dwarf trees are the ones that you should look at. These small fruit trees will be easier to manage than the standard trees. Plus, using a smaller variation of fruit tree means that you do not need to have a large amount of property to plant them.

Dwarf fruit trees will only grow to eight feet in diameter. Pruning them will not be a difficult task as they do not get very tall. While many people think that these small trees will produce small fruit, that is not true. The fruit that comes from these dwarf trees will be normal sized, but it the crop size will be smaller than the standard trees.

Semi-dwarf trees will need a little more space than the dwarf trees. These will grow to 15 feet in diameter, and get to be around sixteen feet in height. On the other hand, the standard orchard tree will be twenty-five – thirty feet. One of the greatest perks about the semi-dwarf trees is they only have to be cut down once a year. These trees will also create a large amount of fruit every year, which means that these trees are able to yield more fruit than their dwarf counterparts do.

Picking out your fruit tree should be based on your needs and how much effort you are willing to put into the care and maintenance of these trees. For example, the maintenance of orchard will be easy handle if you choose a variety of fruit trees that will do okay your local environment. While exotic fruit trees might be fun at first, they could be very difficult to grow.

Different types of fruit trees will thrive in different soil types. Apple and pears are able to tolerate a dry soil, but you will need a drainage put in place. While peach trees, on the other hand, will develop blight if they get a large amount of rain. Which means that these trees should be planted in a more protected area. Take some time and do a little bit of research on which type of fruit trees will be able to flourish the best in your area.

  1. Selecting a Planting Site

backyard orchard prep

When you are picking the site for your orchard, there are several things that you should think about before you get started. One of the first things you will want to decide on, is how much space you are willingly dedicating to your orchard. This will later dictate how many plants you will be able to grow in that specific area of your garden or orchard. For the majority of plants, you will need to find a location that comes with good drainage. In order to test this out , you should create a one-foot hole in the area where you are wanting your orchard to go. Then pour some water into the hole, and let it drain. If the water longer than three hours, you will need to pick a new place for your trees. Another route you can take if the spot you have picked takes forever to drain is to take the time to build a berm, mound or a raised bed. You can also install a French drainage system. A French drainage system is a trench that is filled with rocks or gravel that helps the water drain away from the tree planting area. This can be an appealing option as it will add a decoration element in your backyard orchard.

  1. Picking the Right Trees

Once, you know which size and type of tree you are going to grow, it is now time to actually go out and select your trees. When picking out the right trees there are several things that you should look for. Some of the things that you should for includes:

  • Strong and straight stems. If a tree is already leaning you will need to correct it by staking it correctly, otherwise you will have problems later on. But it is easier just to get non-leaning trees, right from the start.
  • Look for a defined leader branch. This is a branch that grows straight from the trunk. Having a leader branch will make it easier for pruning the tree, later on.
  • Evenly growing branches. Having limbs that span evenly on each side of the leader branch will create a fuller tree.
  • Avoid low branches. Trees that have low branches could potentially get in the way when you are doing normal lawn care and maintenance. In some cases, having these low branches will attract bugs and other pests to your little backyard orchard.
  • Know how they pollinate. Some are self-pollinating, while others will need some help.
  • When transporting the trees home, make sure that you keep the roots covered and damp. By doing this you are making sure that your little saplings will be avoiding shock.
  1. Planting Trees

planting your trees

With your saplings all picked out it now time to plant them. First off you will want to dig a space that is about eighteen inches deep. In some cases you might have to dig the hole deeper, to make sure that all of the roots will be covered. You should then break up the dirt on the sides and bottom of the hole, before putting water into the hole. Give the water some drain time and then put a good thick layer of compost at the bottom. Once the layer of compost is put down, you will then put enough dirt back into the hole to create a small mound.

Now, it is time to actually put the tree into the ground. You are going to take the root ball and place it on top of the mound that you have created. Before you begin to put the rest of the soil back into the hole, make sure that the graft line is above ground level. For those that do not know, the graft line is the slight bulge that is located near the base of the trunk. This is where the bud has been grafted onto the rootstock, which created the tree you are planting. When you have made sure the graft line is not being covered it is time to fill in and lightly compress the soil. Be sure to create a one- two-inch mound around the tree, before you surround the trunk with mulch. Once the tree has been planted, you might have to stake it down. Firmly staking the tree into the ground will keep the tree from flopping around in the weather. If you live in a southwestern region, you may want to paint the tree trunk. Painting a tree trunk with interior white latex paint that has been diluted in a 1-1 ratio with water can help protect the newly planted tree from the sun. Paint your tree from the ground up, so help prevent the little sapling from being sunburned.

-High-Density Planting

If you are limited on space, you can choose to plant multiple trees in the same hole. By doing this you will limit the tree size by creating a competition between the trees for water, light, and nutrients. This system will work perfectly for backyard orchards since the goal is to keep the trees as small as possible. You will have to be careful in this endeavor because you still want to provide the orchard will just enough room for them to grow.

General First-Year Planting Tips:

  • Fruit trees should be planted 18-24 inches apart.
  • After you have planted them, cut the trees down, so they are all the same size.
  • In the spring and late summer cut the new growth back by half.
  • If you are planting more than one variety, make sure that no variety is dominating or shading out the other trees.
  • Make sure that there is a good layer of mulch around the trees. This will help the tree with water retention.
  • You do not need a watering routine for your new fruit tree unless the region that you live in is going through a dry spell.
  1. Pollinating Trees

If you trees are not being properly pollinated, then they will not bear any fruit. There are several ways you can improve the chances of your saplings being pollinated. This includes:

  • Attracting bees. Since bees are natural pollinators, you could grow flowers that are known to attract bees. This will increase the number of bees that come visit your orchard, which will improve the chances of your trees being pollinated.
  • Avoid insecticides. Using insecticides could kill off all your pollinators, so it is best to avoid these as much as possible.
  • Plant different varieties of the same tree. This will help create a successful cross-pollination, which can even be beneficial for those self-pollinating trees.
  1. Pruning Time

Since pruning can be a tiresome task, many people will choose to overlook this part of taking care of their trees. Skipping pruning sessions are not something that should be done, as it could limit the amount of fruit that you will be able to harvest in the fall. But if you prune down your fruit orchard at least once a year you will not only get more fruit, but the tree will continue to grow for many more years.

The best time for tree pruning is right before it starts to develop in the springtime. The goal of pruning should be to create the best tree shape that will also allow a large amount of light to hit the leaves of the trees. You should also remove any dead or diseased branches. If you are new to orchard pruning, it might be a good to hire a professional tree pruner the first time around. Or if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you could talk to an experienced grower or a local nursery worker, to get some tips on pruning.

General Orchard Upkeep Tips

Choosing to treat your orchard well will mean that you will get a large harvest for many years to come. Here are some extra tips that can help make your tree even more productive:

  • Make sure that the graft line is exposed. In some cases, when the graft line gets covered up by the ground you might get a surprise at harvesting time. Usually, when the graft is created, there is a different plant placed on the rootstock. So, when the graft line gets covered the tree could change back to what the original roots were. Which means that you could be expecting apples, and end up with peaches.
  • If you have planted apples and peaches, make sure that you thin out the early fruit. By doing this you are ensuring that the tree will have enough energy to create larger fruits later in the season.
  • Deal with pest when you first spot them.
  • Make sure that you water your during the dry seasons. Water your tree thoroughly every two weeks.
  • When the leaves begin to fall off the tree, make sure that you are raking them up.

Well that’s about it for this post, remember to comment or email us for any more questions.

Good luck and happy gardening!