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temperatures, but also high temperatures, length of growing season, humidity, and rainfall, and (3) the American
Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Plant Heat-Zone Map. When considering fruit trees, it is important to understand not just their hardiness and ability to withstand cold, but the quality of fruit during extended periods of heat or drought. Some fruit trees do well in Colorado’s cold temperatures but
may suffer in heat.
Local Temperature. The effects of heat and drought are just as important as cold-hardiness. The tag may say a plant will grow in full sun, but does that include when temperatures exceed 100 F for days or weeks or in extended drought? Temperature affects the productivity of plants and the quality of fruit. I used to see this phenomenon in my backyard raspberries: high temperatures resulted in berries that had white portions, indicating sunburn. Thus, placement of fruit trees in your garden is key to their success. Evaluate what parts of your garden get more sun and heat than other parts. For example, will a tree absorb heat re ected from your house?
Pollination. Some fruit trees, such as apricots, peaches, and prunes, generally self-pollinate, but apples, sweet cherries, pears, and Japanese plums generally must be cross-pollinated. This typically requires compatible varieties to be planted nearby. Unless your neighbor has compatible plants, you may need to plant multiple trees to get fruit. For example, we had two pear trees in our backyard and when one died, the other ceased producing41
fruit. Do your research on fruit trees that require cross-pollination.
Space. Consider how much space you have to give to your fruit tree, particularly if you plan to plant more than one. Full-size fruit trees can require more space than can be accommodated in a typical residential lot. Dwarf or semi-dwarf trees require less space. Typically, you purchase fruit trees on grafted rootstock and you will want to ask questions about the rootstock regarding tree size.
Insects and diseases. Just as you like fruit, so do insects, bacteria, and fungi. Most are host-speci c, but you will need to understand what your fruit tree will face growing in your backyard. As usual, keeping your tree healthy reduces the risk of an infestation.
For more information on planting and successfully growing fruit trees in Colorado, see
• • •
colorado-gardening-challenge-to-newcomers-7-220/ • les/csfs/pdfs/PDF_
Happy Gardening!
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Castle Rock “AreaNewsletters” • April 2021

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