Good Gardening: Fruit Tree Leaf Color

Oct 5, 2020

KLCC's Master Gardener John Fischer says fruit trees can provide you with both a bountiful healthy harvest, and an aesthetic accent for your yard.
Credit John Fischer / KLCC

The beautiful red yellow and orange fruit my home orchard produces each year is sweet, tart, and juicy. The second harvest that is just starting has all the same colors and is feast for the eyes instead of the palate.

While the most common home grown fruit trees- apples and Bartlett pears end the season by dropping brownish gray leaves to the ground, peach leaves glow in orange and yellow, winter pears range from deep red to lemon color, and the leaves on my Asian plums turn almost purple before they fall.

These trees can provide you with the best of both worlds. A bountiful healthy harvest, and an aesthetic accent for your yard. The backyard orchard can move out front and shine with the best of the maples. Throw in the pink and white blossoms that often pop open during damp gray days as early as February, and you have a win- win - win situation. Fruit trees come in all sizes, from 6 foot dwarfs to fifty foot standards.

Columnar fruit trees grow straight up, fit well in small spaces and provide a unique look in any part of your yard.

Credit John Fischer / KLCC

While this is a good time to admire the changing foliage and get ideas for your yard, fall is not my favorite time to plant a tree. I'm a fan of bare root spring planting.  If you do choose to plant now, make sure your containerized plant is not root bound.  It's not uncommon for a tree that’s in a container now to have been a bare root tree last spring. Carefully uncoil any roots that were stuffed into the pot or your tree may be root bound for decades. And don't amend the planting hole with anything Despite the rains we've had recently, anything you plant now will need a good soaking.

Instead of planting now, put cardboard covered with leaves on the soil in a four-foot circle to kill the grass so you'll be ready for the February bare root planting season.

I'm John Fischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.

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