Fruit forests are generally in a larger area, but we’ve created a guide so you can have a smaller version in your backyard! The concept of a fruit forest is based on layers of planting: start with your larger fruit trees, then a layer of smaller dwarf fruit trees, followed by shrubs, and then ground cover. You can also integrate a vertical layer with climbers and vines.
Choosing plants for your urban fruit garden:
- Canopy/larger trees: fruit trees such as citrus (non-dwarf varieties), feijoa, plum, nectarine, peach, apricot, apple, and pear.
- Dwarf/smaller fruit trees: citrus (dwarf varieties), crabapple (Malus Ballerina), apple, pear, nectarine, peach, apricot.
- Shrubs: blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, blackcurrant, Chilean guava.
- Leafy plants: mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary.
- Ground cover: strawberries.
- Climbers/vines: grapes, passionfruit.
Once you have selected your plants, it is time to get the soil prepared – the better the soil, the better your fruit plants will grow. Dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and compost to your soil. Then add a layer of Tui Garden Mix. Follow the steps below for each plant.
The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Start with your larger fruit trees, working your way through to underplanting with ground cover.
- Soak plants in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic before planting to help prevent transplant shock and encourage healthy growth.
- Dig a hole approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant and partly fill with Tui Garden Mix. This has all of the essential nutrients your fruit plants need to get off to the best start.
- Place the plant in the hole, and fill in with Tui Garden Mix, ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the container or bag.
- Water your plants after planting.
- When planting several fruit plants at once, it is just as easy to add a layer of Tui Garden Mix to the whole area before planting.
Feed your plants and they will reward you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your fruit plants will grow to their full potential.
Feed your tree with a fertiliser specially blended for your crop like Tui Citrus Food or feed with an all purpose variety such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser. Don’t forget to water your fruit plants too – especially over the warm summer months. Well watered, well nourished fruit will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.
- Protect fruit plants from the elements with layers of Tui Mulch & Feed.
- No room for a fruit forest? Plant a few trees in pots using Tui Pot Power.