Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Review - Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

Powell's Books · Barnes & Noble
Stella Otto © 1995

When you buy your first fruit tree, do yourself and your new tree a favor and buy this book. Now that I have three planted in my backyard, I'm wishing I would have read this prior to planting; I would have dug a much bigger hole and amended my clay soil with more sandy-loam and compost. I also would have done a better job setting my trees up for production by properly pruning those first few years of growth.

Today is a new day.

This is an easy-to-read book that covers all major fruit bearing trees with specific information for trees in different zones. Now I know when and how to prune properly. What pests to watch out for and how to prevent infections/infestations and treat them in the most effective manner; e.g. most pests have a predictable time when they are going through some sort of molt or metamorphosis making treatment particularly effective. It is best to treat a specific problem and avoid “all-purpose” treatments as they are toxic to your backyard ecosystem and may create problems that didn't exist prior by killing of natural pest predators.

Stella also provides many tables regarding fruit variety and their flavor, blight and pest resistance, days from blossom to fruit, heights based on rootstock choices, and everything else you might need. She educates us orchardists lingo, e.g. rootstock, scions, scaffold branches, callous, suckers, water sprouts...

I'll never remember everything in this book but I'll remember just enough to know its in there and how to find it.

An essential tool for any backyard orchardist.

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