Fruit Trees Are Too Hard to Manage!
Have you heard this sentiment? We may envision an unending regimen of sprays and specialized pruning. Insect pests and diseases pose an ominous threat that turns many people away. But consider a different perspective.
Selecting the Right Varieties
First of all, some fruit trees truly ARE more work than others. But sometimes, the easiest place to start is with pest or disease resistant varieties. Some apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries have been bred to resist common pathogens or even some insect pests.
THE ADVANTAGE OF ROOTSTOCKS: Many fruit trees are grafted onto rootstocks that offer increased vigor and pest resistance. For example, the Nemaguard rootstock allows certain stone fruits to withstand soil nematodes. Do you have a small space? Dwarfing rootstocks can be selected as a way of reducing pruning requirements.
Is Spraying Essential?
Spraying trees is a common concern. In some situations, a basic organic spray can really help your fruit trees. A dormant oil, neem or copper spray might be just what they need for "optimal" health. At the same time, some growers just let their plants go and they still get a decent harvest. Superficial blemishes aside, the fruits themselves may be quite succulent and delicious!
VUNERABLE VARIETIES: Not all cultivars are created equal. Some of the more common fruits (like apples) have been cultivated for centuries, cloned again and again through grafting. Their genetics have remained unchanged and poorly adapted for resilience. This has allowed pest populations to thrive, unchallenged. Thus, humans have had to go through special measures, coddling their prized fruit varieties.
Consider Less Popular Species
Widening your scope might be your best option. Some less common fruits don't require intensive care. They might be excellent fruits, but we just never see them in our grocery stores. Persimmons, jujube, paw paw, che, seaberries and mulberries are a few examples. Each of these offer a variety of advantages over other more common fruits. Selecting the right fruit tree might mean: No spraying, Few diseases and Few pests!
So take some time to read up on varieties you've never heard of. You might just find the perfect fruit for your property. -One that requires much less management, but offers a delicious bounty!