There's nothing like eating a piece of juicy fruit that you've just picked from your own tree. Some of the most common fruit trees in Australian backyards are citrus and stone fruit - particularly peaches, apricots and nectarines. These are usually selected because they are self-fertile, and do not require pollination by insects or other creatures. They also thrive in most Australian climates, although stone fruit don't tend to do so well in colder parts of the country. Plums and cherry trees are stone fruit trees that do require pollination, and as such, might not bear fruit with as much frequency and volume as their self-fertile cousins. If you have a selection of luscious fruit trees in your backyard that are not producing as much fruit as you want, there are a number of things you can do to rectify this.
This is the most straightforward method of fruit tree maintenance, but it needs to be done on a regular basis (generally once or twice a year) to ensure that the maximum amount of fruit is produced. Citrus trees are easy to prune, and you just need to reduce the overall size by trimming the outer branches (late winter and early spring is the best time). Don't cut too much off, as this will reduce the amount of fruit that will grow next time. The most effective way to prune a stone fruit tree can vary depending on the type, but you really just need to reduce the upward growing limbs. These limbs will still sprout laterals (the portion of the tree that bears fruit), but there can be less fruit overall without pruning the upward growing limbs (and it can be difficult to harvest).
Some fruit trees will have been planted for their decorative effect, rather than their succulent fruit. This can mean that their location was not so well thought out. Cramming too many trees into a relatively small area can force them into a competition for nutrients. Even having a non-fruit tree too close to your fruit trees can reduce the amount of fruit that will be produced. Some drastic action can ensure that their branches will be crammed with fruit by next season. A tree removal company can cut down any extra tree and also remove its roots, making it much easier for your fruit trees to draw nutrients from the soil - nutrients which can then be used for fruit production. Be sure to check with your local council first to make sure that the tree in question is not protected (as larger trees can often be).
There's a way to regulate a tree's growth without needing to prune. Perhaps you don't like the effort of pruning, or don't like the way the tree can look for several months afterwards. A professional arborist or tree service like A Green Tree Lopping Service may be able to treat the tree using a solution containing paclobutrazol (PBZ). This PBZ solution diverts the plants natural hormones (known as gibberellins) so that instead of contributing towards the height and width of the tree, they are used to develop fruit. The tree stays relatively compact and bears more fruit, without that cropped look. This solution needs to be applied by a professional, but this is only necessary a few times each year, with the actual schedule determined by the type and size of tree.
So there are three easy ways to ensure the maximum amount of fruit on your trees. It's not difficult, and you will be thankful you did it when those branches are crammed with delicious fruit.
If you live in an old house, you might find that some of the trees in your yard are as old, or older, than your house. Trees are a great link to the past of the house, but as they get older, like any living thing, they need a little more tender loving care! I help homeowners restore and maintain the trees at their house so that they look beautiful and healthy again. If you are the proud owner of an older tree and want to make sure it retains its natural glory, keep reading for my hints and tips.