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How to Grow Fruit Trees in Coastal Areas

Fresh fruit plucked from your own tree is possible in coastal areas even with the challenge of sandy soil, fierce winds and salty moisture. Dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees are ideally suited to coastal areas and their size makes it easy to pick the fruit when it's ready. Careful site selection and regular care will help you grow fruit trees at your beach house or in a backyard orchard in your coastal village.

Buy fruit trees that are cultivated specifically for your region. Shop at local nurseries that offer fruit trees raised nearby and that have been acclimatised to the area's soil and weather conditions.

Select a planting location that receives sun for at least two-thirds of the day. Reduce the impact of coastal fog by locating the tree on a hillside rather than in a lower area where the cold damp may settle.

Protect fruit trees from the wind. Plant them where the gusts are deflected by a hill or a planting of taller trees. Build a windbreak, if necessary. Tall garden walls offer wind protection as well as visual dimension to a coastal garden.

Modify the soil. In autumn, dig an oversized hole where you plan to plant, at minimum 2 feet deep and 4 feet across. Fill the hole with alternate layers of compost, peat moss and the excavated dirt. Turn the soil over in the early spring, digging deeply. Test the planting location with a kit from your county or state university extension service. Add lime, phosphorus, nitrogen and other elements indicated by the test results to bring the soil within a 5.6 to 7.0 pH balance. Plant the tree in prepared soil in late spring, allowing a full summer for it to become established.

Water newly planted fruit trees immediately with potable water. Counterbalance the drying effects of coastal winds by watering the trees frequently throughout the growing season until low winter temperatures or frost set in.

Warning

Never use ocean runoff or saline water to water fruit trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Soil testing kit
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About the Author

Denise Schoonhoven has worked in the fields of acoustics, biomedical products, electric cable heating and marketing communications. She studied at Newbold College and Middlesex Polytechnic in the UK, and Walla Walla University. A writer since 2008, Schoonhoven is a seasoned business traveler, solo tourist, gardener and home renovator.