Disease Control for Fruit Trees
Homeowners who grow fruit in backyards or small orchards find that diseases and insect pests often ruin part or all the crop, and in some instances damage the tree itself. It is difficult to produce totally non disease-free fruit. In some years it may be possible to grow acceptable fruit without the use of chemicals, but in most years a few well-timed fungicide sprays are needed.
The effects of many problems can be reduced if several things are considered prior to buying and planting fruit trees. One of the most important factors is selection of an area suitable for growing fruit trees. Fruit trees prefer full sunlight and moist but well-drained soil having a pH of 6.0-6.5.
Second only to having a good location is selection of fruits and fruit cultivars that are adapted to your area and its climate. If environmental conditions are not suitable for growing fruits, pest and disease problems are more difficult to manage and in some instances cannot be controlled. Additionally, fruit quality will likely be poor.
Your local nursryman or county extension agent can usually tell you what fruits and which cultivars of these fruits are best suited for your area.
It is important to buy only quality trees that are disease and insect free. Also check the roots to be sure they have not been allowed to become dry, or have been overwatered to the point of root rot.. Large is not always better; a tree 3-4 feet in height is much easier to establish than a taller tree. Furthermore, most fruit trees should be cut back to a 2-3 foot height when planted, and the new growth trained. Planting a tree this size also reduces stress on the root system allowing the tree to become better established during the first year after planting.
A grass and weed-free area around the tree should be maintained.