Thirty years ago I planted my first fruit trees, freshly dug from an orchard that was closing. I chose an apple, a plum and a peach tree. The plum didn’t live, the peach turned out to be an apple, and the apple is still bearing fruit which I enjoy every fall. But I made a mistake. I was afraid to prune my apple tree for fear of not making the right cut in the right place. Many years I went without fruit as the tree was too thick with branches. I would cut out the water sprouts on occasion but left way too much behind. One of our customers pruned it hard for me a few years in a row, and what a difference that made! I had fruit; nice size Macintosh apples that I could pick from my own tree, pesticide free. My advice is to learn to prune and train your fruit plants from the beginning, to achieve the quantity and quality of fruit for years to come. Your local Cooperative Extension Office is a great resource for growing and training fruit. I also like Nourse Farms videos for growing and pruning blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. www.noursfarms.com
Pruning is only one part of growing quality fruit. The correct soil pH and nutrients are number one. Fruit trees like a pH of 6.0-6.5, strawberries prefer 6.5-6.8, raspberries 5.5-6.5, blackberries 5.5-7.0, grapes 5.5-6.5, and blueberries 4.5-5.5. A soil test is important when planting fruit to provide optimal growing conditions. You will receive a report with recommendations to amend your soil for the fruit you’re growing. Soil test kits can be picked up at your local Cooperative Extension Office.