While the fruit cocktail tree is unique and beautiful, the ways the tree should be maintained are largely similar to other trees minus a handful of nuances. In order to enjoy a variety of fruit from a single plant all year round, there are a number of important rules to follow.
The Planting Process
Planting is the first step to getting your tree situated in the ground so that it will live a long, healthy life. Messing this up could cost you the tree!
Here are a few helpful tips to keep yourself from doing that…
- Keep the roots soaking before you plant. This step is very important as it lays the groundwork for the whole tree. The plant needs at least some water while it’s waiting to be rooted!
- Plant in the morning to insure the tree receives optimal sunlight
- Spread the roots out so they dig into the soil nicely. Shallow roots will let the tree fall over and possibly die.
- Keep the fruit cocktail tree staked when it first plants. It might not be strong enough when it first gets into the soil
- Add some mulch to enrich the soil
- Water thoroughly for the first few days the plant is in the ground, then water two to three times weekly for most of the lifespan of the plant
So now that the planting process is handled, you have yourself a fruit cocktail tree that is ready to grow and produce a variety of fruits! Now what are some of the regular maintenance tasks you need to keep in mind?
Watering Several Times Weekly
This is pretty obvious to most plant owners, yet some people still forget. You NEED to water two to three times per week and perhaps every day in the hot months. Failure to keep that ground moist can cost you the fruit cocktail tree!
Just be sure not to water TOO much. If the soil is super damp all the time, the tree might not get proper support and might end up falling over.
Fertilization Several Times Yearly
Fertilization is not a regular task on a week to week basis but should be done several times throughout the year to maintain the beautiful, pristine and healthy look the tree needs. It helps keep the soil fresh and healthy.
Pruning the Tree 1-2 Times a Year
The fruit cocktail tree has a tendency to grow aggressively. To scale this back and keep your property looking great with the tree not pushing into fences, siding or other trees, it’s generally recommended that you prune once or twice a year, typically in the winter.
Pest Control – As Needed!
Has the tree been taken over by bugs? Yikes. That will almost certainly cost you some fruit. If you’re in a situation where flies, maggots and other pests are taking away your fruit, try a fly lure to keep them off the tree itself. If that doesn’t work and you need to resort to sprays (not recommended), then try using an organic pesticide. Many of these are derived from cayenne pepper and other ingredients that are safe to have around your family and pets.
How Long Should the Tree Last?
If properly cared for, a fruit cocktail tree should last a few decades. A lot of this depends on the upkeep of the tree and whether or not you place it in a well lit, well watered area.
Better maintenance will likely result in your fruit cocktail tree lasting several decades.
What are Some Signs of Poor Maintenance?
If the tree stops producing fruit or the fruit is extremely small and dry, this is a good sign the tree is not healthy at all and perhaps one of the first things you should look to when evaluating the tree.
Another sign of poor health would be the roots. If you see the roots appear loose and the tree can easily lean to one side as a result of wind or a simple push, you know this is a poorly rooted tree that might need better soil, more water or some fertilizer.
Here’s a quick list of things to NEVER do with your tree…
- Don’t overwater or underwater your tree.
- Too much water can weaken the soil and create a poor support for the tree.
- Not enough can dehydrate and kill the tree. With the exception of hot weather, 2-3 times weekly is plenty of water.
- Leave your tree in a dark area. Sunlight is essential.
- Ignore pests. Fruit cocktail trees are particularly vulnerable to pests!
If you follow all of the above steps, your tree should last for decades and produce a nice variety of delicious fruit!