“The winter is a great time to plan for your backyard orchard,” states Grant McCarty, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator. “Many varieties of fruit trees sell out early spring. This is a good time to determine your orchard layout and know what varieties to purchase”.
Most backyard orchards have pears and apple trees. “We see cherry and peach trees on occasion in Jo Daviess County but our winters tend to be very hard on them. Still, backyard growers could plant 1-2 of these trees though they may not yield every year” McCarty continues.
For McCarty, fruit orchard educational programs help Jo Daviess residents address problems early on. “When getting started growing fruit, many do not realize you need more than one variety of apple trees in order to yield apples. In the summer, I’ll get phone calls from a backyard grower asking why their 6 year old ‘Honeycrisp’ has never yielded and chances are that they’ve only planted ‘Honeycrisp’ and need another variety.”
The University of Illinois Extension will be offering future programs in fruit tree pruning this winter. “It is one of our most popular programs. Every fruit tree is different and I teach the class in a style where attendees can receive a fruit tree consultation with the photos they send me”.
To learn more about the upcoming fruit tree pruning class or for other fruit/vegetable classes in your area, please visit go.illinois.extension.edu/jsw or call the Jo Daviess County Extension Office at 815-858-2273.