Aside from choosing plants and trees specifically for your hardiness zone, you must also consider other environmental conditions to ensure successful growth and fruit-bearing. Many tree varieties require more maintenance and attention than others, but most plant issues result from environmental stress. With a basic understanding of the common environmental factors that affect tree growth, you’ll be able to identify and correct tree problems more efficiently.
Sunlight is one of the most important things for growing plants, but that doesn’t mean every tree needs blistering sun exposure all day, every day. Some trees love full sunlight for most hours of the day, while others appreciate a little shaded relief from the sun. Insufficient sunlight can cause decreased fruit, flower, or leaf production and weak growth that’s prone to breakage.
By determining your tree’s sunlight needs and preferences before planting, you’ll be able to choose the best spot to plant it. Observe the potential location throughout the day to see how many hours of sunlight it receives.
All plants and trees need water to survive, but the amount depends on each variety. Different soil types drain at their own rates; your tree might need more supplemental watering if you have sandy soil rather than clay soil. Watering your trees is crucial when a drought occurs, but the amount matters then, too.
Light watering on multiple consecutive days creates a shallow root system, which you don’t want. Instead, watering deeply and less frequently helps young trees establish robust root systems.
Trees are sensitive to the air temperature, and both cold and hot weather can wreak havoc on trees. You can avoid this by choosing trees specifically for your location’s climate, understanding how cold weather affects growth, and knowing how to protect your trees from unexpected weather patterns.
Consider applying mulch to the tree’s base to keep the ground temperature cool and to stop water from evaporating in intense heat. On the other hand, using protective tree wraps and mulch keeps heat in and protects the tree from freezing-cold weather.
Many people overlook the importance of soil conditions when choosing trees to plant, but proper structure and pH are vital for successful tree growth. Each tree variety has a tolerance range for soil type and pH level. Before you plant, consider testing your soil for potential issues and pH levels to determine if it’ll be suitable for your variety.
Knowing the common environmental factors that affect tree growth can give you a headstart at becoming a prosperous gardener. Although many trees have a tolerance for undesirable conditions, making your tree as comfortable as possible ensures positive growth, flowering, and a substantial fruit yield for fruit trees.