Fruit tree maintainance by Homeowner

Asked April 21, 2020, 6:56 PM EDT

HI I have been looking for guidance info to maintain a couple of apple and peach trees in my yard. In the course of my investigation I explored this site which provides a WEB-link to a 300+ page VaTech. document. I am a homeowner - not a professional fruit tree orchardist. I really question the utility of this approach to homeowner guidance as only the most fanatic homeowner is likely to plow though a 300+ textbook to extract the info useful to maintain a few fruit trees in their yard.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Good Afternoon,

I am sorry to hear your frustration! I assume that you are referring to the ENTO-336 document from Virginia Cooperative Extension that is linked on the HGIC page on tree fruit.

I know that a 300+ page PDF can be pretty daunting. Fortunately, the part of the document that specifically covers tree fruit like apples, pears, peaches, etc is just one chapter, #3 (starting on page 87 of the PDF). There are one or two pages per crop (apples, peaches, etc) that provides a brief overview of the key insect pests and disease along with a chart of how to control them. Those pages are where I encourage you to focus your reading. Managing those key pests and diseases, especially in this region, make the difference
between having a harvest or having no harvest at all. Growing apples and peaches here can be difficult and does involve an investment of time, knowledge and money in sprays. In some cases, you can control the pest by selecting the most suitable varieties for our region (see the chart with recommended varieties for each crop) while in others, proper pruning and chemical controls are needed. See pages 97 and 100 for the start of the sections on apples and on peaches, respectively.

Some of the small fruit (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc) as well as some of the more unusual fruit (elderberry, persimmon, etc) can be much lower maintenance crops. If you are interested, I am doing a webinar tonight at 6 pm on some of the unique fruit crops for home landscapes that are generally lower maintenance.

I hope that this information is useful to you. We don't want to bog homeowners down with information that is not practical to them but rather be realistic about some of the challenges with growing each particular fruit.