Garden Expo

Notes from Wisconsin Garden Expo talk on Growing Fruit.

General Tips

Check out what your neighbors and friends are growing.

Fruiting plants need full sun and good soil.

Don’t buy from big box stores.

Choose your rootstock.

Protect plants when small with tree tubes, hardware cloth, chicken wire, wire screen, etc. and prep/buy before planting time!

Mulch trees and shrubs with wood chips, strawberries and melons with straw .

Plant bulbs and other companion plants – herbs, dutch white clover, etc. around your fruit trees.

Preparation is the Key to Your Success!

  • Research! Classes, books, experts, etc. Don’t believe everything you read online. Look for Extension/University publications
  • More research! Soil type, slope, light levels, spacing, etc.
  • Get a soil test and improve your soil by growing a cover crop, adding compost, and/or sheet mulching. It all starts with the soil!
  • Prepare cardboard, tree and shrub cages/fences ahead of time! Fence everything when it is small – I like hardware cloth, zip ties, and 6 inch landscape staples
  • Prepare to water for 1 – 2 years after planting
  • has a pre-planting checklist

Suggested Resources


The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto

Growing Organic Orchard Fruits by Danny L. Barney

The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips

The Harrowsmith Book of Fruit Trees by Jennifer Bennett

Anything by Lee Reich

Others – find or list a fruit or nut tree! – Garden Watchdog rates mail order nurseries – fruit reviews

MidFEX – Midwest Fruit Explorers

NAFEX – North American Fruit Explorers