Some people have had gardens and orchards in their families for generations. Experience, knowledge and wisdom have been handed down to them from the time they were small. However, if you are new to the “grow your own” movement, there’s a good chance you may have questions or need a little encouragement. Naturally, you are likely to turn to the most easily available resource — the Internet. Unfortunately, many of the “answers” you find online aren’t reliable or rooted in reality.
“A fruit tree will die after it has a bumper crop.”
While some fruit trees might rest the following year to recuperate and store nutrients needed for fruit production, producing a bumper crop does not directly deliver demise. Even after bumper crops, fruit trees continue to live and produce in future years!
“More fertilizer means more flowers or fruit.”
Most fertilizers are high in Nitrogen, which encourages vegetative growth (branches and leaves) but actually deters blossom production. Over-fertilizing is not encouraged.
“Cross-pollinated varieties will produce hybrid fruit.”
Most trees require cross-pollination to produce fruit, but any resulting hybrid characteristics from this cross-pollination would only occur in the seeds of the fruit. Hybrid fruit could only result from planting those hybrid seeds and eventually getting fruit from future seedlings. However, seedling trees don’t always produce viable fruit, so there is a good possibility you might never see any hybrid fruit at all.
To learn more about seedlings and their differences with grafted trees, check out our article, The Science of Grafting.
“Pruned trees take longer to grow.”
Pruning actually encourages growth! This process eliminates weak, “leggy” growth that is not structurally beneficial and helps create a balance between fruiting wood and vegetative wood, so that you can avoid these potential issues:
Find out more about how pruning creates balance and encourages growth in our article, Pre-Pruning Fruit Trees, which also features a helpful video.
“Blackberry plants should never be planted near raspberry plants.”
Regarding raspberry mosaic virus, this myth is the result of confusion between blackberry and black raspberry plants. Blackberries are low-risk for contracting mosaic virus; however, black raspberries should not be planted within 75-100 feet of any other berries. This is because black raspberry plants can be more susceptible to viral diseases carried by aphids and may be dangerous to adjoining berry plants as a result.
“Trees that receive the same care should grow the same.”
Trees, like people, are unique and should be treated and cared for individually. Trees of the same type or age that are planted at the same time may grow at different rates. This is normal! Another thing to keep in mind is that no two planting locations — not even in the same yard — are identical.
Soil elements can have a different composition from one spot to another and drainage may vary. It is highly recommended that you become familiar with your soil prior to planting. A great place to start is your local county’s Cooperative Extension System Office. This is an excellent resource that will be able to provide a soil test for you for a small fee.
You might have heard some of these gardening and growing myths, too, so hopefully, this article has helped to ease your mind and put them to rest. Can you think of any gardening or growing myths that aren’t listed here? We’d love to hear them!