Proper fruit cultivar (variety) selection is important for successful and satisfying results from the home gardener’s efforts. Selection should be based on family preferences, available space, and intended use of the fruits. If properly chosen, harvest can be spread over several weeks if cultivars with different periods of maturity are planted.
It is important that homeowners select the cultivars of fruit plants that are best adapted for cultivation in the part of the state in which they live. The cultivars must have adequate hardiness to survive the winter; heat and drought tolerance to thrive in the summer; and the ability to escape or survive spring frosts.
Select plants of the proper size to fit the space available, and consider their aesthetic value in the landscape. Many fruit trees are available on dwarfing (size- controlling) rootstocks. Use of such trees may be helpful for fruit tree growers with space limitations. Spring bloom of apples and plums can be very attractive and fragrant; and fruit trees offer seasonal interest, shade, and shelter for birds.
Fruit trees require consistent management for best productivity. Proper pruning is very important, as are other cultural practices such as minimizing insect and disease damage. Select disease-resistant cultivars to reduce the need for pesticides.