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The Best Tools for Fruit Trees

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Over the past few years, I’ve used many tools to both break the ground and grow our fruit trees. While some worked great, others didn’t. I chose not to include the ones that didn’t work on this list.

The following list includes the products that are most ideal for growing fruit trees. Of course, you don’t need all of them, so simply pick and choose which ones work best for you.

my moisture, ph, and light meter for my Meyer lemon tree
My handy soil pH meter.

I will say that the bamboo stakes were a lifesaver not only for our potted fruit trees but also for our tomatoes and cucumbers (see the image below).

tomato and cucumber bamboo trellises

We built them into simple trellises and they didn’t waver at all, even in strong winds. I’d suggest getting the 6-8′ bamboo poles and bury them 2′ deep if you’re looking at staking your younger fruit trees. Use grafting tape to secure them.

Now, here’s the full list of my recommended products for fruit trees.

Tools for Potted Fruit Trees

Tools for Planted Fruit Trees

There are some items on this list that are far more helpful than others. My top 3 picks would have to be the soil tester, branch cutter, and pine mulch.

My Top 3 Recommended Tools For Fruit Trees

1. Soil Tester

I recently purchased a soil meter for my garden, and wow—it’s helped me analyze the soil so easily. Within a couple of seconds, I can test the pH and the moisture of the soil, instead of just guessing.

It can also measure light levels, but it’s not as helpful as the other two measurements since light can be fairly obvious (however, I can see how this would be helpful to test for sufficient light indoors).

This tool also doesn’t require batteries or electricity, so you simply push it into the soil and make sure the switch is set to whichever measurement you’d like to take (moisture, pH, or light).

The moisture reading is helpful because overwatering fruit trees can easily happen and can lead to issues such as root rot, which first affects the roots and eventually leads to yellow leaves and killing the tree.

Additionally, the pH of the soil is important not just for fruit trees, but for all plants.

ph scale couch to homestead

Most fruit trees prefer a pH of 6.0-7.0, and without the proper pH, the trees will have a hard time absorbing nutrients.

So, it’s pretty essential to get the soil’s pH right. Although you can buy kits or do homemade tests to determine your soil’s pH, having a soil meter will make it incredibly easy.

2. Branch Cutter

Getting a branch cutter is a pretty obvious purchase. Pruning is a great practice to develop as you can train your young fruit trees to focus on growth, and your more mature fruit trees to focus on fruiting.

To help your young fruit tree focus on growth and expanding its foliage, pinch off the budding flowers so the tree can redirect its energy elsewhere.

To help your mature fruit tree focus on fruiting, prune some of the extra foliage, reducing the energy load it needs to maintain those branches and redirecting it to more fruit.

As with anything, there’s a balance. Don’t prune too much to where the tree can’t photosynthesis, and don’t prune too little where the tree is overbearing and unable to keep up with excessive foliage or fruit. Generally, this means to prune no more than 25% of the canopy within one year.

Over-pruning (removing more than 25 percent of the canopy in any one year) may result in the production of watershoots (epicormic growth), which are vigorous, tall, upright and leafy branches, producing no flowers or fruit.

The Royal Horticultural Society

Of course, if you have a potted fruit tree, then you won’t need something as heavy-duty as these branch cutters. Instead, I’ve linked a set of pruning shears in the list above that’s better suited for the potted fruit tree’s smaller branches.

The goal of pruning is to prune just enough to train the tree and allow for some light to pierce the canopy. This will also increase airflow and reduce the risk of fungal diseases developing.

3. Pine Mulch

Although not technically a tool, pine mulch is a soil amendment that does A LOT for your fruit trees.

Mulching the base of fruit trees helps retain moisture in the soil, prevents weeds from growing, and slowly breaks down to provide nutrients for the tree. Both planted and potted fruit trees can benefit from mulching, but keep mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk as it can introduce mold.

Many fruit trees grow well in hotter climate, such as citrus, avocado, and mango trees. If you’re growing fruit trees in a hotter climate, mulching your soil will go a long way to retain the water and prevent the sun from baking the soil into dead dirt. Plus, if you can water your fruit trees less, why not?

However, you don’t need pine mulch specifically. In fact, you can use leaves, grass clippings, or other vegetative scraps as mulch. This way you can keep the nutrients in your garden instead of the landfill.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this list helps inspire you or solve some issue that you were dealing with. There are many issues that fruit trees can develop, so taking the proper precautions and getting creative with solutions can take you far. We’ll be updating the list as we go, so make sure to stay tuned!

If your fruit trees currently have a growing issue, and you feel stuck, consider checking out some of my recent posts below: