Winter and spring are wonderful seasons for planting fruit trees, because, with the right care and sufficient sunlight, you can expect a flourishing summertime yield! Whatsmore, the orchard planning and tree planting process is not too difficult. In fact, it can be as sweet and rewarding as eating a piece of ripe fruit! Follow our step-by-step guide and create your own thriving home orchard. (Explore our range of fruit trees here.)
How to grow a fruit tree orchard at home:
1. Analyse your property spec
Head outside into your backyard, or front yard, depending on where you want to situate your orchard. Consider the size of your plot, and visualise the width and breadth of your desired fruit tree layout. Ask yourself, is my property large enough for my dream orchard? Will there be sufficient ground for waking space between the rows? Do I need to trim back any surrounding garden foliage to make way for the fruit trees I want? You need to ensure your property has the potential for housing an orchard before getting to work on the actual layout and planting phase. So, spend some time working out the logistics.
2. Inspect the terrain
Once you’ve given your property size the green light, and cleared any restrictive foliage that may be in the way, inspect the levelness of the land and the quality of the soil. The ground should be flat enough to support a functional orchard, and the soil should be well-drained with a sandy, loamy texture, and rich in nutrients to support healthy tree growth. (You might need to get out those gardening tools and fertilisers for this one!) You should also scout around the property for a nearby water point. A fruit tree orchard will require sufficient water, regardless of the weather, so be sure there is ready access to a water supply in your front or backyard.
3. Decide which fruit trees to plant
Comparing fruit trees is like comparing apples and oranges – literally. Every fruit tree is different and requires a special set of care instructions. So before settling on a specific tree (or trees), ask yourself, is there a reason I want to grow these particular fruits myself? What are my plans for harvest? Do I require a certain volume of fruit per yield? Can I maintain this species of tree long-term? Questions like these will help you choose fruit trees that suit your lifestyle and serve your personal or professional goals. (Discover our citrus and pomegranate fruit trees.)
4. Consider the available varieties
In South Africa, we are lucky to have hot summers and fairly warm winters, as we can plant fruit trees year-round. If you’ve decided on a type of fruit tree, say a lemon tree, choose a variety that is well-suited to local weather and terrain conditions. For example, the Lemon Eureka and Cape Rough Skin Lemon are popular choices for South African gardens. Click here to view our lemon tree varieties.
5. Lay out your orchard systematically
Typically, orchards are grown in a grid format, with fruit trees planted in rows from north to south for maximum sunlight exposure. However, you can arrange the trees in your home orchard however you see fit – in organised clusters, a general scattering, or a curved row. Just be sure to position them in places that receive ample sunlight and have deep enough soil for root growth. And be careful when spacing the trees. Make sure they aren’t planted too close to one another, as this can cause competition for root and canopy growth. We suggest you leave a space of about 4m between trees so they can all thrive and produce bountiful yields of fruit.
Ready to grow your own fruit tree orchard?
If you’ve got a dream that involves copious amounts of home-grown fruit, then make it come to life with these orchard tips and our selection of winter-loving fruit trees. Visit a store near you to view the trees and plants that we supply.