Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fruit Trees in the Desert

This is a very unusual topic for me who lives in Winnipeg.  But having family living in the Sonoran desert I found myself very interested in this topic especially when said family hinted to me that they would like to plant some fruit trees in their yard.

The Valley Permaculture Alliance of which I am a member here, offered a course on this topic.  I jumped at the opportunity for the knowledge and to help my family with their garden addition. 
I learned that almost every fruit tree will grow here in the valley but whether it will produce fruit is not always possible.  The most important factor for this situation is to look at the chill hours needed for the tree.  On average there are 300 to 400 chill hours in the desert.  Fortunately, all nursery fruit trees here are very well marked with proper information on their three labels.  Chill hours and the root stock are two of the most important factors.

We learned how to find the proper area to plant in for correct drainage, where to locate your chosen tree, how to protect if frost is a possibility, how to protect against sunscald and planting it correctly.  Surprisingly, no new soil should be added to the hole and the sides of the hole should be dug on a 45 degree angle to deter soil compaction and allow the roots to grow easily into the native desert soil.  All trees should be watered to a depth of 3 feet and I learned how to measure when this occurs.  And never stake the trees!

Now to discuss with the family what choices they have and what fruit produce they would most benefit for harvesting and using.

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