Establishing a tree fruit orchard in Kenya

Establishing an orchard for your tree fruits

Where to plant your fruit trees is an important consideration when starting your orchard. Ideally you want good drainage, good soil, plenty of sunshine (fruiting trees require a minimum of 6-8 hours of sun per day during the growing season), and good air flow. You want your trees to be wind protected and try to avoid low-lying sites. A slope is the best location, if you have one. Fertile soils with a depth of  more than 1.5 meters and pH range of 5.8–6.6 are ideal for growing fruit trees.

Dig large holes before planting fruit trees. The tree holes need to be large enough to accommodate the root system, a 2 feet diameter is a good measurement. Mix well with the existing soil and good quality compost. Mulching and composting are an important part of the orchard.

The proposed orchard’s site has to be cleared as thoroughly as possible of perennial weeds, undergrowth, trees, stumps, roots, trash and debris. This should be followed by levelling of unwanted anthills and the elimination of their destructive inhabitants. To achieve a good tilth of the cleared land, fruit growers are advised to plant an annual crop a year before starting fruit cultivation. After this annual crop has been harvested, the final re-ploughing, harrowing and levelling is carried out.

fruit tree seedlings

 

Selection of suitable fruit species/cultivars

The choice of suitable fruit species and cultivars to grow is one of the most important prerequisites for successful fruit farming. A cultivar must be adapted to the environmental conditions of the locality in which it is to be grown, and there should be a good market demand for it. For many fruits there is an extended list from which to choose.

  • Mangoes (Kent, Tommy, Ngowe and apple varieties) @150
    Hass avocados/fuerte @150
    Oranges @150
    Muthakwa grafted tree tomatoes @100
    Apples @400
    Lime @150
    Lemons@100
    Tangerines @150
    Macadamia @400
    Grafted purple passion fruits @70
    Aplicot @300
    Pepino melons @100
    Tissue culture bananas @250
    Guavas @100
    Plums @400
    Peaches @300
    Pomegranates @300
    kiwi @800
    Pawpaw @50
    Grapes @250

 

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MANGOES

<span data-recalc-dims=MANGOES" > The mango is a deep-rooted, evergreen plant which can develop into huge trees, especially on deep soils. The height and shape varies considerably among seedlings and cultivars. Under optimum climatic conditions, the trees are erect and fast growing and the canopy can either be broad and rounded or more upright. Seedling trees can reach more than 20 m in height while grafted ones are usually half that size.
Mango is one of the most important fruit crops in the tropical and subtropical lowlands. The mango industry in Kenya has expanded considerably over recent years, not only in size but also in the geographical location of commercial and homestead plantings. No longer is commercial mango cultivation restricted to the Coast region, as significant plantings of improved cultivars now also exist in the Makueni county, Meru County, Murang’a County, Nairobi County, Nakuru County, Siaya County, Taita Taveta County, Tana River County, Tharaka Nithi County, Bungoma County, Kitui County, Embu County, Machakos County, Kiambu County among other regions. But the generally arid eastern region produces 61 per cent of all mangoes, followed by Rift Valley at 30 per cent and Coast, which produces 28 per cent.
Main characteristics that differentiate varieties are the fruit shape, size, aroma, sweetness, color, fiber
content, taste, seed size and resistance to diseases. Proper selection of a mango cultivar for production must consider the following criteria:
• good adaptation to the local conditions (e.g. rainfall and dry periods)
• alternation of flowering and fruiting
• tolerance to pest and disease infections
• designated use and market requirements

The mango is best adapted to a warm tropical monsoon climate with a pronounced dry season (>3 months) followed by rains. However, information from other countries indicates that crops cultivated for a long time over an extended area show a high degree of diversity due to varied environmental influences.
Varieties include; Apple mango, kent, Haden, Tommy atkins,Van dyke etc
Mangoes are the most popular and full of nutritional and unique taste. its rich in vitamin A,C,E,and K

150

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PEACHES SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=PEACHES SEEDLINGS" > While planting peach trees the appropriate climate is crucial, so too is ensuring the tree's soil, light, moisture and spacing needs are met. Planting peach trees in favorable conditions reduces the chance of disease and pest damage, because the tree is happy and stress-free. You'll also see larger and juicier fruits when it comes time to harvest.
Peach trees grow best in full sun, where they can bask for at least six hours in the natural light. They prefer slightly acidic soils ranging from 6.0 soil pH to 6.5. Anything slightly under or over and the tree will still grow, but its yield and health may be adversely affected. The trees love sandy loam soil and demand good drainage. If soil drainage is poor, tilling in compost, sand or peat moss helps increase drainage capabilities.
Peach trees require the most water when they're young -- their first year in the ground -- with watering once weekly or, twice weekly. Peach trees may produce fruit during drought-like conditions if not watered, but the tree will become stressed and the fruit will lack size. To maintain soil moisture, add mulch around the tree but not touching the trunk itself.
Peaches can survive in cold winters where temperatures regularly reach zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the next harvest will be small or nonexistent. They thrive in climates where temperatures during winter reach 150C -30 0C degrees.
Peach trees that are expected to grow to a mature height of about 25 feet grow best when they have 20 feet of space between them. Dwarf peach trees thrive when planted about 6 feet apart. Planting trees too close together reduces air circulation and may prohibit growth and result in root damage.

@300

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HASS AVOCADO

<span data-recalc-dims=HASS AVOCADO" > Hass Avocado trees are propagated through grafting, which means the stem of hass avocado variety is spliced onto another avocado variety. The technique yields quicker harvests, consistent fruit quality and disease-resistant avocado trees. Pollination, climate, soil, water and diseases are among variables that affect growing a healthy, fruitful avocado tree.
The condition most limiting to growing an avocado tree is cold weather. Hass Avocado varieties are the most cold-hardy, but they can tolerate cold temperatures to only about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. During freezing weather, it helps to drape blankets or tarps over a young tree and anchor the coverings to the ground. If an avocado tree is large, then mounding soil or mulch high on the tree trunk for winter can help the tree survive cold temperatures.
An avocado tree can grow successfully in a variety of soil types and in soil with acidic or alkaline pH levels, but the tree requires soil that has good drainage. It declines in poorly draining and saline soil. Although an avocado tree cannot tolerate wet soil, it needs at least 1 inch of water every week during periods of insufficient rainfall. Not fertilizing the tree until it is 1 year old is recommended. Young trees need four applications of a balanced manure and older trees need twice-yearly applications of a high-nitrogen product applied in early December and late July.

150

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KIWI SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=KIWI SEEDLINGS" > Kiwi fruits grow on large vines that are like grapevines in their general growth and fruiting
habits as well as their training and trellising requirements. The fruit normally ripens within 25 weeks after the flowers first appear. The fruits range in weight from 40 to 90 g and can be picked shortly after the first frost in autumn; after that, they can be kept in cold storage for 4–6 months at 00 C. Kiwi vines can be grown on a wide range of soil types at elevations ranging from 1000 m to 2500 m.
The kiwi plant is dioecious, meaning individual plants are either male or female. Only female plants bear fruit, but only when pollinated by a male plant. Vines of both sexes are essential for fruit production, and they must flower at the same time to ensure pollination. One male pollinator vine is required for eight female vines. The vines are commonly supported on sturdy structures strong enough to bear the heavy fruit, which might otherwise break the rather weak vines. T-bars or hitching post trellises are recommended to support the large fruiting area in the
form of a canopy and provide easy access to the fruit.

@800

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ORANGE SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=ORANGE SEEDLINGS" > Oranges grows over a wide range of soils but light, well drained (sandy) soils are most ideal. For good production oranges require well distributed rainfall or supplementary irrigation throughout the year. A good source of water is therefore essential in orange farming. Water requirements vary according to weather conditions, but the ideal range is between 450mm – 2,700mm per year.
Oranges can be grown from as low as sea level to 200m above sea level. Areas of low humidity are most ideal. Such a climate is important for reduced disease intensity and for acquiring good orange colour. A dry hot day, cool at night climate also favours good color development. Citrus requires temperature ranges from 13oC-38oC. Optimum temperature is 25oC-35oC. Extremely high temperatures may be harmful especially during flowering or if cool temperatures are followed by a hot period. Damage occurs in the form of flower and leaf drop. Wind can also cause serious damage to orange trees and fruits. Hot dry wind will often scorch trees by drying young leaves. Winds of high speeds will scar fruits and cause fruit drop. Where winds are a problem, wind break shelters should be planted

150

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PAW PAW SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=PAW PAW SEEDLINGS" > Paw Paw
The ideal spot for a mature pawpaw is in a sunny location protected from the wind and endowed with plenty of rich, well-drained soil. The seedling should be protected from direct sunlight for the first year or two, so filter the sun with an open-ended barrel or some netting. After that, full sun is preferred.
Tree Growing papaya trees is generally done from seed that is extracted from ripe fruit. If you are using a fruit from a grocery store, it is most likely going to be a bisexual plant. You should plant several seeds per pot to ensure germination. Under full sunlight, seedlings may emerge in about two weeks. Plants can be set out after they are a foot tall and spaced 8 to 10 feet apart. The seedlings will flower after five or six months.
Pawpaw also grow best in full sun. Papayas like well-drained soil, and because of shallow roots, growing pawpaw trees will not tolerate wet conditions. In addition to proper pawpaw growing conditions, suitable care of pawpaw fruit trees is also important. For pawpaw trees to thrive, they require some fertilizer. Provide young plants fertilizer every 14 days using ¼ pound of complete fertilizer. Fertilize older trees with 1 to 2 pounds of fertilizer once a month. Also, be sure to take a soil sample and amend as necessary.

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GRAPES SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=GRAPES SEEDLINGS" > Grapes are often ignored in home gardens, and yet are one of the most widely produced fruit in the world—as well as beautifully ornamental plants. We have plenty of tips for growing grapes in your homestead.
Grape vines not only produce sweet and versatile fruits, they add an element of drama to a garden or landscape. They are vigorous growers, and with the proper pruning, they will produce fruit with ease and can last longer than 30 years.
The crop prefers warm to hot temperatures; during fruiting, the weather must be sunny and dry. Warm environmental temperatures during fruit ripening, is important in increasing the sugar content of berries while reducing their acidity. This explains why grapes grown under irrigation in hot deserts or semi deserts are sweeter than those from cold humid areas.
The crop can grow in any soil, from sandy to heavy clays but the soil should be deep and well drained. Where the rainfall is scant, supplement it with an irrigation of 500 mm of water during the cropping season. In Kenya, the cropping season is September to March.
Irrigation should be withheld after the long rains so as to force the crop to go dormant.
In August to September, fruit buds form thus it is important to keep the plant healthy and well manured.
There are plenty of health benefits in consuming grapes for they are a rich source of Vitamins- A, C, K and minerals such as iron, copper, manganese.

@250

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APPLES SEEDLINGS

<span data-recalc-dims=APPLES SEEDLINGS" > Apples trees can grow in a wide range of soils from medium textured clays to gravelly sands. However, poor soils will produce poor results and the best crops are found on fertile sandy soils and loams.
Soils should be well drained. Wet soils lead to poor aeration and increased incidence of crown rot in apples (Phytophthora cactorum). Generally, rooting tends to be shallow, and wet soils will restrict development, resulting in poor anchorage of the tree and a reduced area of soil from which nutrients can be extracted. Soils with high organic matter contents are normally better structured and allow good rooting.
Irrigation is necessary on dry soils, particularly when establishing and growing young orchards. Trickle irrigation and fertigation are increasingly used. In young orchards fertigation helps increase early tree growth and brings trees into bearing earlier. Sprinkler irrigation can be used to protect the tree buds and fruitlets against frost damage.
Sowing of a grass mulch between the tree rows is common practice, which together with any clippings, helps to increase water holding capacity, infiltration rate, soil aggregation and recycling of nutrients.
Apples prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0). Extreme soil pH values result in nutrient tie-up or toxicity and poor tree and fruit development. It is important to amend the pH in acidic soils by incorporating lime before planting

400

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2 Thoughts to “Establishing a tree fruit orchard in Kenya

  1. Hi,after planting can we get seedlings from these for use to plant again or we need to buy again

    1. admin

      Most of tree fruits must be propagated through grafting, hence the need to buy again from a seedbed.

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