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Title page, Fruit trees in your Florida Dooryard

Fruit trees in your Florida Dooryard

The aloof Florida spring

Whew! Spring has been kind to us this year. Instead of the usual week of spring, we must have enjoyed around ten days. There is nothing better than a crisp spring morning in Florida. But, it never seems to last, and it feels like those hot summer days spring upon us way too soon. The afternoon thunderstorms generally come in mid-June and the threat of those infamous hurricanes, beginning to churn in the Atlantic, bring more chances of wet weather.  Time to consider planting some trees

Taming Florida’s sun

Why a tree you might ask? Two reasons come to mind. First, trees need water and the summer rain releases us from some of those watering responsibilities so we can rely on Mother Nature to take up some of the slack. Secondly, future shade to protect us from those Florida rays. If you need any other reason to plant a tree, consider carbon storage. With all the talk about atmospheric carbon being a problem; one of the best ways common folks, like myself, can expect to help is to plant a tree or many trees. After all, trees are made up of mostly carbon and for a long living tree, you can expect that carbon to stay put for a while. Oh, and did I mention food? Okay, how about four reasons.

Feeding yourself and the neighborhood
A particularly heavy crop of mango pulls limbs down almost to the ground.

A particularly heavy crop of mango pulls limbs down, almost to the ground. Photo by David Austin

Something else you might consider is a tree could produce food. Why not substitute the planting of a shade tree with your favorite fruit tree? Squirrels have plenty of acorns to eat, so you would be helping their diet out too by introducing some fruit to it. In my front yard there is a large mango tree which gives me shade. An avocado or a mulberry tree could also be a great addition to your yard.  The choices are many, so you might want to give it some thought.

Enjoying your Dooryard

On that note, I have just the thing you may be looking for. A class on growing dooryard fruit trees in your yard. Dooryard fruit tree is a term that describes trees just outside your door. The old timers, that depended on growing much of what they ate, would plant fruit trees close to their back door or maybe the door nearest their kitchen. That way they could keep an eye on their tree while it was only a short walk out of their house to pick part of their meal. The squirrels that the trees attracted were just a bonus.

close up of a fruiting papaya tree

A papaya plant with fruits grows in a relatively small area. photo by David Austin

Learning from UF/IFAS

Saturday June 12th from 10 am until noon, UF IFAS Extension, with the help of the Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteer program, will be offering their monthly education program online.  The topic, Florida Dooryard Fruit Trees. Master Gardener Volunteer, Rob Maulella, will lead the class and I will be on hand listening and learning. To register for this free class, click here

Staying in Touch with Horticulture in Florida’s Heartland is easy!

In Highlands County, our office is at 4509 W George Blvd., Sebring. The Master Gardener Help Desk is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.

That’s what’s new from the Hometown Gardener. Like and Follow me on Facebook at Hometown Gardener.  Read my blogs by clicking here.  Sign up for our Highlands County Master Gardener Volunteer, “Putting Down Root” Newsletter Here. Join our Facebook groups Highlands County Master Gardeners, Science-Based Florida Gardening Answers, Central Florida Butterfly and Pollinator Club, and Heartland Beekeepers

2 Comments on “Fruit trees in your Florida Dooryard

  1. I am in Spring Hill and would like to know if have some classes near me , also what distance from the house should plant some fruit tree?

    • Hello Cris, You can stay in touch with my online programs in Highlands County on Facebook at Hometown Gardener. You also have a local Extension office in Hernando County. Bill Lester is the agent there and probably has classes. here is his email address. wlester@ufl.edu. Please keep reading my Blogs!