Fruit trees

Description
The fruit trees we grow and recommend are those that crop well in Auckland, without pesticides or fuss. 

We recommend having a range of varieties that crop at different times. Plant a fruit or nut for every season so you’ll always have something in your fruit bowl. Because they are so fresh, fruit and vegetables from your garden are often tastier than commercially grown varieties that have been cool-stored. You also know exactly what you are eating, as many commercial fruits are sprayed with chemicals. Not only will growing your own fruit save money, it’s also very satisfying to share surplus fruit with friends and family (and home-made home-grown preserves are a great gift). Children love harvesting and eating from the garden too.

Uses
Fruit trees can be grown in an orchard or incorporated into your main garden. Their flowers add interest and attract pollinators, their fruit are delicious, and some give the added bonus of autumn colour. They can be grown as a specimen tree or even trained into an espalier or fan to save space.

What to grow
Visit our 'Plants for Auckland' database for the easiest fruit trees to grow in Auckland.

Or download our Fruit trees for Auckland brochure.

How to plant

  • The Auckland climate often makes it difficult to produce disease and pest-free pip fruits and stone fruits. To avoid year-long spray programmes, select varieties known to be suited to Auckland.
  • Check appropriate times to prune. For example, prune stone fruit after fruiting in summer to minimise disease. Pip fruit, such as apples, are mainly pruned in winter. Lessen the potential of pest and disease by pruning on a dry sunny day.
  • Some fruit trees, such as plums, require two compatible varieties to ensure fruit production. However some plums, such as Prunus domestica 'Hawera', are self-fertile and can be planted as solo specimen trees. 
  • Citrus trees require no routine pruning apart from removal of dead, damaged or tangled branches. Any sign of frass (looks like sawdust) indicates borer infestation. Prune the affected branch behind the borer hole so the borer is removed.
  • Apply an organic mulch annually to benefit soil health, moisture retention and weed suppression. For young trees higher nutrient compost-based mulch is beneficial.
  • Plant herbs, bulbs, wildflowers in orchards or around fruit trees to attract beneficial birds and insect life.
  • Save gas and time by mowing less – over time different species will come up through the grass and beneficial biodiversity will start to build.

How to grow

  • Most fruit trees prefer well-drained soil in full sun.
  • Thorough soil preparation before planting is essential. Work generous quantities of compost into the planting area and apply a dressing of general fertiliser.
  • Always plant at the same depth as they are in their container.
  • Stake to support the tree from strong winds and ensure the roots become well established.
  • Always keep the area directly round the trunk free of grass and weeds as these compete for nutrients.
  • Mulching after planting will help suppress weeds and maintain moisture.
  • Pruning will depend on the type of tree.
  • Refer to our Pruning fruit trees leaflet.

Hear top tips on planting and pruning fruit trees from Jack Hobbs, Auckland Botanic Gardens Manager: 

 

Top image: Lime Citrus aurantiifolia 'Bearss'