Hooray! It’s spring again! The lovely flowering trees dot the landscape, brightening the days as much as the additional sunshine does. We bask in the glorious new colors, budding leaves, and the vibrancy of renewed life bursting onto the scene. Everyday a new surprise as urgent new life unfolds overnight. Sure, there are the inevitable pollen issues, as our eyes water, and our noses run, but heck, all those beautiful flowers are more than worth it. When we can see through our swollen eyelids, they’re gorgeous. Plus, let’s not forget, those flowers on those fruit trees mean fruit! Right?
Oh. Maybe not. After all, most of those fruit trees in everyone’s front yards are all about the flowers, and don’t actually produce fruit. How sad is that? We get the watery eyes, and runny noses, but no satisfaction of the fruit itself.
I have a proposition for you. What if everyone who has a flowering fruit tree that doesn’t produce fruit chop it down right after the flowering is over, and cut it up for barbecue smoking wood. Fruitwood smoked barbecue is delicious! Then, replace the non-fruiting tree with two fruiting trees. A pair of your favorite type of fruit, or your second favorite type, depending on your yard conditions. After all, you shouldn’t put cherry trees into places that are mostly wet, because they don’t like getting their feet wet (apple trees love wet yards). Most fruit trees need a pollinator to give you the fruit you like (plums, pears, apples); unless it’s a self-pollinator. You can check with a nursery about what types they have in stock, and whether the one’s you want need a partner or not.
I purchased a self-pollinating apricot tree, and a purple fig tree this year. I have some confidence that both of them can survive this Ohio valley climate, because I saw a full grown fig tree surviving in the mountains of West Virginia a couple of years ago. I just want to plant them somewhere that is a little protected with good southern sun exposure.
I need to find a partner tree for my apple tree that I planted last year. I bought a scraggly looking apple tree on clearance last year, because I felt sorry for it. Half of it’s root ball was completely exposed and it was suffering. I planted it last fall and it survived the winter. It’s putting out new leaves this spring. Yeah! Now I need to go find it a partner. It would be joyous to see it producing fruit.
There are a lot of what look like fruit trees in the neighborhood. They produce lots of flowers in the spring, but I’ve been here for a couple of years now, and they don’t produce any fruit. I’m going to cut down the non-fruiting trees that are in my property area, and replace them with real fruit trees. Even if I don’t do the whole farming-pruning-fumigation thing to keep the worms out of the developing fruit, at least they’ll produce fruit for the birds and squirrels, and the bees.
Did you know that bees can use the rotting fruit on the ground to feed on? Those overripe fruits are producing sugars that the bees can use to make more honey. Since our yards have so frequently stopped producing fruit, the bees have lost a source of late season sustenance. Putting real fruit trees back into our yards would add valuable resources to help save our bees. And taking the non-fruiting wood to use for barbecue… delicious! I’m going to enjoy that fruit wood smoked flavor this fall.