Caring for your new fruit tree                 

We hope you can join us April 18 for our annual Fruit Tree Giveaway! A $5 donation is suggested, and even if you doubled that, you’re still escaping with a great deal on a tree.

Structural pruning of your young fruit tree helps it hold literally hundreds of pounds of fruit once it matures. Photo: FoT File
Structural pruning of your young fruit tree will help it hold literally hundreds of pounds of fruit once it matures. Photo: FoT File

Inexpensive is a great price point, but unlike shade trees, fruit trees require extra care and investment in the first three years.

“A young shade tree only needs to be structurally sound enough to support leaves. A fruit tree will support hundreds of pounds of fruit,” says Andrew Land, one of FoT’s staff arborists. It’s important to properly prune your new tree during the first three years of its life.”

You can call on one of our partner arborists to take care of the pruning or for the DIY inclined, visit our kindred souls at the Portland Fruit Tree Project —they’re awesome, informed, and helpful.

While pruning requires knowledge and care, there are three very important things you can do for your tree right off the bat:

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Plant your fruit tree in a spot with lots of space to grow, and lots of sunlight each day (southeast exposure is great). Photo: FoT file

1. Location, Location, Location…
If possible, choose a location on the southeast side of your property. Allow enough space for the tree to grow and plant your new tree in an area that will get plenty of sunlight. This will help both the overall health of the tree and aid in ripening fruit.

2. Thirsty, so very thirsty…
Your new tree needs 10-15 gallons of water per week. That downpour—no matter how soaked your clothes were—still doesn’t satisfy your tree’s water requirements. Fill a five gallon bucket up 2-3 times a week and give your fruit tree’s roots a deep drink.

3. #mulchmadness…
What kind of mulch? Short answer, brown: wood chips, bark dust, compost—any sort organic matter that’ll direct food and nutrients down to the roots and help retain water. Just follow the rules of 3 for mulching:
3 foot diameter of mulch
3 inches deep
3 inches from base of the trunk.

At last year’s Fruit Tree Giveaway we sold out of trees, and even with more trees on hand this year, we’d still encourage people to come out early: We’re beginning at 10 a.m. on April 18 and go through 1 p.m.

The event is held at Friends of Trees’s north parking lot at 3117 NE Martin Luther King Blvd in Portland. If you can’t make this event, you can help keep the Northwest’s tree canopy healthy by donating or volunteering.

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