Orange tree with ripe fruits in sunlight. Horizontal shot

Fruit trees are often chosen for their brilliant spring and/or fall color, rather than for their fruit. The fruit, which they will bear, can be looked at as a bonus. However, if you do plan to harvest the fruit as well, there are several maintenance steps necessary to assure success. The truth is, if you choose the right kinds of fruits, give them a suitable place to live and a little attention, fruit trees require no more (and often less) care than other growing things. Even in a small space you can still grow fruit.
With young citrus trees, make sure not to let them bare the first year. This means to remove the fruit the first year. The purpose of this is so that it can establish a better root system.
A Good Location

The earth around the tree will be its permanent home, so be sure it is to its liking. Can the soil accommodate the huge root system of a mature tree and, with a little help from you, properly nourish it? Is the soil well drained or wet? Fruit trees detest wet feet and get sick if water ever covers their roots for more than a few days at a time.

Food & Water

Like any living thing, a tree needs water and nourishment, and both should be available, especially in early summer when the tree makes most of its growth. The roots take in Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and a sprinkling of other minerals from the soil, but since soils alone are seldom well supplied with all of these nutrients, you will need to provide additional amounts through fertilization.


As with most plants, fruit trees need a great deal of sunlight throughout the day. Sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis-the process by which plants convert energy from the sun into the carbohydrates necessary for plant growth. Full sun is considered 5-6 hours or more.

Room to Grow

Be sure not to plant fruit trees too close to other trees, overhead wires, or structures. Make sure that there are no young shade trees nearby that will crowd it and steal away valuable nutrients and moisture from your young tree. Know the mature height and spread of the tree.


Although a mature tree can stand a little neglect, you must give a young tree careful protection. Animals, insects, machinery (especially lawn mowers), children and weather all take their toll of newly planted trees each year.