Kentucky residents are really lucky. The state's climate allows them to grow several types of fruit trees, including some native North American trees that produce tasty fruit not readily available in markets. If you're thinking of ways to use open space in your yard, a fruit orchard is a wonderful way to provide food and shade, as well as save money and help your health overall.
Planning and planting a fruit-tree orchard in a yard in Kentucky isn't difficult, and you have plenty of time before the next planting season to decide on the trees you want. In fact, you may even be able to plant a few trees now, depending on the weather.
A Tree for Each Taste
Your only restrictions when planning what you want in that orchard are what can grow in the climate and what's available as a dwarf variety. Very tall fruit trees are actually not the best ones for planting in a yard. Tall trees make it harder and more dangerous to care for and retrieve fruit in the upper half of the tree.
Dwarf varieties, though, make it easier. Some dwarf varieties are still tall compared to an average person's height, so if you want to be sure you can get all the fruit off the tree, look for cultivars that don't grow very tall. Spur trees have fruit growing all along branches right up to the trunk, so a compact spur (also a dwarf spur) could be a great choice. Your landscaping company can help you locate chosen cultivars.
Past those two restrictions, though, the sky's the limit. If you want basic fruit trees like apples and cherries, you'll have a lovely time checking out nurseries and catalogs. If you'd like native Kentucky fruit trees like the red mulberry or the delicious pawpaw, you can easily plant a few in a moderately sized yard.
When you and the landscaping company discuss tree types, remember pollination requirements. Some trees may require another tree of the same fruit type; others may need the help of bees and butterflies, which means planting bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers near the fruit trees so you attract pollinators.
A Way to Save Money
Transforming your yard into an orchard may also transform your budget for the better. No doubt an orchard requires money; you have to buy the seedlings, pay the landscaping company, and so on. But buying fruit from the supermarket also costs you a lot when you factor in availability price premiums, gas, and wear and tear on your car.
Take a look at which fruits you eat often (i.e., the ones you regularly spend all that money on) and which ones are very expensive or hard to find. For example, pawpaws have a very short season and aren't easy to find in stores.
The only caveats are that many seedlings take a few years to start producing fruit, and many fruit trees are alternate bearers, meaning that one year you'll get an abundant crop, while the next year's yield will be smaller.
A Garden for Your Health
And if all this fruit frenzy sounds a little strange to you, remember that having a garden, be it a vegetable garden, fruit orchard, or fruit-laden hedgerow, gives you a ready source of food. If you work the area as long as you can each season (except winter), you could find your diet improving substantially as you gobble up the tasty food that is literally at your fingertips.
Kentucky can have some cold weather that lasts into spring. Fruit trees normally do best when planted as soon as the ground is workable, but in years like this one, when winter seems to continue even though the calendar says spring, you could plant some fruit trees fairly late in the season and still succeed.
Granted, having an orchard does require some work. However, if you plan the orchard correctly and care for it properly, the amount of work will quickly settle into a routine that is easy to follow. Get a landscaping company like Landscape Solutions on the job, and much of that work will no longer be weighing down on your shoulders.