Planting fruit trees can be rewarding but only if you plan ahead. If growers don’t research their crops extensively and determine what varieties will grow best in their region, the potential rewarding experience can lead to a letdown.
Edgar Vinson, assistant research professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University, reminds commercial growers and homeowners the importance of doing your homework before planting this winter.
“It’s a lot of information if you want to do it right and be successful. If you’re a commercial grower or growing a few plants in your yard, you’ll want to do your homework so you can be successful and the whole process be as fulfilling as possible. If that’s done, it’s really a fulfilling venture,” Vinson said.
Plant During Winter
It’s important to remember that fruit trees need to be planted during the winter time when the trees are dormant. Vinson said you can plant an actively growing tree but it really adds a lot of stress to it.
Alabama is a unique state. It has potential extremes with regards to climate and the surrounding environment that what’s grown in the southern portion of the state may not fare the same way in northern Alabama.
“Some types of crops don’t do well. Even within a crop, you can have varieties, like peach for instance. You can grow peaches from the Gulf all the way to the northern counties of Alabama. Certain varieties do best in particular regions of the state, especially those varieties that have high chill hour requirements,” Vinson said.
“You don’t want to plant a variety with a high chill hour requirement in south Alabama where temperatures are historically higher. There’s not a lot of accumulation of chill hours. It’s just a recipe for disaster if you plant. You may have a desirable variety of peach but it has a chill hour requirement that well exceeds what can be obtained in south Alabama. Then it’s all for naught.”