Before planting your first fruit tree, you should conduct your own research regarding production, marketing, and financing the enterprise.
When considering tree fruit production, careful planning and research is critical to your success. There are many considerations you should address and some of these may be a few months in advance of planting your first tree.
Your first consideration should be your marketing plan. How do you intend to sell your fruit? You may be considering wholesale markets however; do you have enough acreage to produce the volume to be profitable? If you plan to retail your production, who and where are your customers? With the increasing popularity of hard cider operations, this may be an option.
Book your seedlings Earlier
You will probably need to order trees two months in advance. Before ordering trees you should decide if you will be planting apples, tree-tomato, avocado, macadamia, pawpaw, oranges, lemons, pears, or stone fruit (cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, ). Also before ordering, you need to decide the cultivars, rootstock, and tree density. You should talk to your potential markets to determine what cultivars are popular now and what may be popular in the future (We can help you with that).
Related Content: Why farmers should embrace new Hass avocado variety
Related Content: Why pomegranate fruit demand is on the rise in Kenya
When deciding on apple cultivars you will need to choose at least two cultivars for pollination. Some cultivars require three different pollens to produce fruit. You may also choose to use another type of tree such as crab apples to pollinate your cultivars. Consult your nursery to determine which cultivars work well together.
The topography of your land may dictate tree density. Steeper slopes may mean more space between rows but between tree spacing may remain as planned. Keep in mind that you will be operating equipment in the orchard at least weekly. Also, higher density orchards require more management than lower density orchards. High density orchards also require irrigation and a support system.
A high density (900 trees per acre), fresh fruit orchard may cost 150,000 per acre to establish while a medium density (150 tree per acre, e.g Avocado) may cost 45000 per acre to establish. The smaller trees will produce a crop earlier than medium sized trees so your management skills may impact your decision.
Labor is another consideration when deciding on an orchard. Will you need more than family labor and, if so, what is the source of the additional labor?
It will be several years before you begin to see a return on your investment so plan accordingly. Also, consult your accountant as trees cannot be deprecated for several years after planting. Production expenses are deductible but the trees are not.
After considering all of your options and conducting hours of research you should be able to make an informed decision.
If you really need to start an orchard and you are stuck halfway, don’t lose hope, visit our offices or give us a call and we will guide you through.
For those who have already decided, this is the time to book your seedlings.
Dry mulches should be used to retain moisture while heavy banana stems should be supported to avoid damage. Old diseased leaves should be removed while de-leafing is important to ensure healthy growth. Harvesting begins after 15-18 months, and a light shiny appearance means that the banana is ready for harvest. Harvesting should be delicate to avoid bruising of the bananas. The bananas should be temporarily stored in a cool, dry place and should be wrapped in banana leaves or grass to avoid bruising. If for export, they should be washed using a disinfectant and might require branding.
Plums are excellent fresh but also make a wonderful jam or jelly. Plums require full sun and well-drained, sandy soil to thrive. They prefer a soil with a pH that ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested before planting any fruit tree to be sure that they pH is appropriate. You should also work the appropriate amendments into your soil before planting. Their overall size may also need to be considered. Most plum trees will reach 16 feet at maturity or 14 feet if they are a dwarf variety.
Plums have quite high moisture demands, so they are best planted on good clay or loamy soils. But sites also need to be well drained as plums, and gages in particular, hate waterlogged soils. Add bulky organic matter to sandy or shallow chalky soils prior to planting.
Plant plum trees in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Avoid planting in low areas where frost may settle, as the frost will damage your trees. If possible, find a sheltered position, such as a south- or west-facing spot out of the wind. This will help the plum tree set fruit. For grafted trees, keep the graft union 1 inch above the soil line when planting. Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Space dwarf trees 15 to 20 feet apart.
Plums develop their best flavor if left to ripen on the tree. If they feel soft when gently squeezed, they are ripe. Trees will generally need picking over several times. Harvest fruits carefully so as not to bruise them, then eat fresh, destone and freeze, or make the fruits into preserves.
Tamarillo best known by the name tree-tomatoes in Kenya is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 5 meters. Peak production is reached after 1-3 years, and the life expectancy is about 12 years. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. They produce 1 to 6 fruits per cluster. Plants can set fruit without cross-pollination, but the flowers are fragrant and attract insects. Cross-pollination seems to improve fruit set.
The Tree-Tomato prefers subtropical climate, they grow in many parts of kenya with rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters and annual temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. It is assumed that fruit set is affected by night temperatures. Areas where citrus are cultivated provide good conditions for Tree-Tomatos. Tree-Tomato plants grow best in light, deep, fertile soils, although they are not very demanding. However, soils must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging. They grow naturally on soils with a pH of 5 to 8.5. They are as well planted by irrigation as they also do well.
we graft our seedling with "muthakwa" to ensure our tees are resistant to nematodes, they are drought resistant, mature fast in 9 months compared to other that mature in more than a year. Due to good feeding our fruits are bigger than normal.
A tree is usually kept to 3-6 trunks for fruit production. They tend to sucker around the base. These need to be removed, though they can be used as cuttings for propagation if you chose not to discard them.
Pomegranate is especially well adapted to the environments with cool winters and hot summers, but can be grown in the humid tropics or subtropics, and the plant will survive very well in Kenya. Commercial production is concentrated in dry summer climates, and pomegranate is extremely drought tolerant once established, but crops much better with more generous moisture. Pomegranate thrives on a wide variety of soils and has a high resistance to salinity.