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Tree Care

Fruit Salad Trees have 2 special care requirements:
Keep the tree balanced
Establish a well ‘balanced’ tree by pruning back the more vigorous growing grafts, any time and regularly during the growing season. Thin out branching of each graft, if needed, to equalize growth vigour! Otherwise the more vigorous growers will become bigger and stronger and dominate, at the expense of the slower growers. This should be done once a month and is especially important while the tree is young and developing! Continue to maintain a 'balance' of growth for each graft, until mature height is reached.   Hint: Keep each graft confined to grow in its own area of the tree, this will assist in recognizing the faster and slower growers.     

Remove rootstock growth 
Any new shoots emerging from the main central stem of the tree or from ground level, must be removed. This is growth of the rootstock tree. It’s purpose is to nourish the attached grafts.  Citrus rootstock has long thorns and a small 3 pronged leaf, always remove this growth.   Hint: Identify the different grafts growing from the main central stem (e.g. put a dab of paint), these are the anchor points of each graft. Check and remove all other growth from the central stem (rootstock).

Care Instructions leaflet
Our comprehensive care instructions leaflet accompanies each tree and covers basic care requirements for all fruit trees such as planting, fertilising, watering, sun requirements, pruning, shaping, disease protection, pot growing

Click to download care instructions or see below for more information on caring for your Fruit Salad Tree!


How to plant my tree in a pot?

Planting can be done any time of the year. It is best to plant your tree late in the day when the weather is cooler. Soak the tree in a bucket with about a quarter bucket of water overnight prior to planting out. Remove from pot by cutting bag with a knife. Knock off about half the old soil and tease out the roots a little. Start with a pot a little wider than the original size and progressively pot up each year so that in five years time, the tree will reach half wine barrell size. The tree can also be planted into a very large pot from the start, but remember to change the soil at least every two years and fertilise more often, e.g. 3 or 4 times a year. The tree will produce normal size fruits - even in a pot!

What soil should I use in a pot?

Mix together 50/50 a good quality potting mix and good top soil. Enrich the soil by adding 1 tablespoon or 20grams of Osmocote (slow release fertilizer) that includes trace elements. Mix together and wash in well. Add mulch on top for extra water retention. Water crystals can also be added and keep a tray under the pot. Fertilise from the top at least twice a year - suggestions see 'Fertilising'.

How do I pot up my tree?

When potting up to the next size, place the pot on its side and remove the tree. Knock off half the used soil, tease out roots a little and replant as above into the larger pot. Increase the size of the pot each year for optimum tree growth.

How do I bonsai my tree?

To maintain same pot size, trim off any excess roots, i.e. those wrapping tightly around the outside of the root system. Then immediately cut back the branching of the tree, to compensate for loss of those roots. Also knock off half the used soil, tease out remaining roots and repot back into the same pot with fresh soil and nutrients. Continue this maintenance in same pot to 'bonsai' the tree. After repeated same size repotting, more inner roots will also need to be removed. The size of the tree will be determined by the size of the pot. See "What is the mature height of the Trees".

How do I plant my tree in the ground?

Planting can be done anytime. Soak the tree in a quarter bucket of water overnight prior to planting out. Remove the tree from the pot by cutting the bag with a knife. Spread out the roots a little. Dig a little wider than the pot, to depth of about 2/3 of the pot, leaving 1/3 above the ground. This will ensure good drainage if soil is a clay type. Mound up good top soil around the tree. Make sure the lower branch union is well above the soil. Stake the tree to secure it upright. If the soil is heavy clay then add a few handfuls of gypsum on top of the ground and a little into the hole. If the soil is sandy, add some organic matter and compost if available and/or put animal manure on top (older is better). Other options include Dynamic Lifter (or equivalent) or blood and bone. Alternatively use the slow release fertilizer Osmocote (containing trace elements) and mix it in with the soil. Water in well with each layer of soil mixture, leaving no air pockets and firm down. Add mulch on top to keep moist. Water the tree the next day, then twice weekly for 3 weeks or as required.

What tree shape should I aim for?

All growth needs to be encouraged in the direction away from the centre of the tree. Sunlight needs to be filtering to all branches and fruits, so keep centre of tree open. Pinch or prune out any inward growing branches and those growing in the wrong direction, this will not harm the tree but redirects energy to the outward growing branches. When branching is growing too long and straight, cut branch to 'bush up' and cause multiple smaller branches to grow. When pruning, always cut above an outward pointing bud or leaf. If too much branching occurs, thin out little branches to make a strong framework.

Do I need to prune my tree in winter?

Apart from the continual pruning for shape and balance, apply annual pruning to Stone Fruit, Apples and Nashi Trees in early winter. Prune 1/3 (young tree) to 1⁄2 (mature tree) of the current year's growth, remembering to cut above an outward bud. The colour of the bark will indicate the amount of growth for the last season (usually lighter green or brown than the darker older wood from previous years growth).

Do I need to spray my tree?

For Stone Fruit Trees only: It is most important to spray the tree for prevention of the disease 'Leaf Curl' At Leaf Fall i.e. autumn (by early May - remove the leaves if not yet fallen), spray thoroughly with Lime Sulphur (available at Bunnings etc) apply twice, about a week apart. (Hand sprayer) Use a Copper spray, adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid, at bud swell (before bud burst), when the tree is beginning to 'wake up' from dormancy. This can be as early as June! Do this twice, about a week apart (Hand sprayer). Citrus: After fruiting, cut back just a little and thin out branching for sunlight penetration. Heavy pruning is not required. Apples and Nashis don't require winter spraying.

How often should I water my tree?

Keep your tree moist at all times, watering more often during the hotter months. A good layer of mulch promotes a more consistent moisture level. Weekly deep watering is best, i.e. leave hose on trickle overnight. This promotes a deeper root development for the tree, rather than surface watering. Reduce watering habits for dormant trees during the winter months.

When should I fertilize my tree?

Fertilize 2 to 3 times a year! APPLY late winter, early summer and Early Autumn. Cow or animal manure (older is better) and compost are excellent fertilizers. Otherwise suggestions would be: a slow release fertilizer (Osmocote with added trace elements) mixed into the soil, Blood and Bone, Dynamic Lifter or equivalent. No more than one or two of these fertilizers to each application. From time to time kitchen scraps can be added under the mulch to attract earthworms (If no dogs are about!). Note: When using fertilizers, keep from direct contact with trunk of the tree. And top up mulch when required.

What are the sun requirements for my tree?

Best to place in position with full day sun or a minimum of half day, sheltered from wind if possible.

When will my tree bear fruit?

First fruits will appear in approximately 6 - 18 months. It's best to remove most of these fruits when they are the size of a tiny pea and allow the framework (branches) of all the grafts to develop first. This is especially important whilst the tree is young. As the tree grows, thin out/reduce the amount of fruit that has set, always promoting branch growth as well as fruit production. Branch framework needs to be ahead of fruit production to carry the weight of the fruit and establish correct tree shape. More fruit may be allowed to set on any faster growing grafts however, as the fruit production will slow the growth of the branches. Always reduce the number of fruit on the slower growing varieties to allow more energy to go into developing the branches.

Can I espalier my tree?

All our trees can be espaliered. This method saves space and is especially helpful for apple and nashi trees as it provides extra support for heavy cropping. Attach the branching sideways along wires or framework. Secure branches with expandable ties to allow expansion as the branches grow.

Do I need to spray my tree for Fruit Fly?

There are various methods of controlling fruit fly available today. We recommend the baiting control programs as this method is far safer because the fruit does not come in contact with the poisons. There are many baiting products available locally and it's a much safer option for your family. Fruit Fly Baiting Mix 20ml of Fruit Fly Lure and 4.5ml of Maldison into 1 Litre of water. Apply 60ml of the solution by splashing it onto the lower leaves of branches, closest to the trunk of the tree. Begin to apply the solution when the fruit is small, about pea/marble size. Apply weekly and reapply after rain. To provide added protection, put a small amount of the solution into a container, hang it on the tree or fix it nearby so that fruit fly has access to the liquid but it's protected from rain. *Fruit Fly Lure can be purchased from Bugs for Bugs (07) 4165 4663, if not available locally (Bunnings etc). Spray control for fruit fly There are various spraying poisons available to control fruit fly. Some of these include Labaycid, and others but these poisens are potentially very harmful to humans and pets if the appropriate safety equipment and withholding periods are not adhered to.