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How to identify fruit tree blossoms

Updated November 21, 2016

Oftentimes, new homeowners will inherit an unidentified fruit tree and not know how to care for it. Fruit trees are not only prized for their produce, but also for their striking blossoms that contribute a dramatic presence. Identifying fruit blossoms is an effective way to determine the type of fruit tree growing in your yard.

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  1. Find out your region's plant hardiness zone to narrow down the list of possible fruit trees. The United States is broken up into eleven zones that differ in their average minimal temperatures. By looking on the United States Department of Agriculture's Plant Hardiness Zone map, you can eliminate some of the choices. For instance, citrus trees generally do not grow in zones 1 to 8a.

  2. Find out your soil's pH range at the planting location. Every fruit tree has a specific pH range that allows it to absorb the soil's nutrients. By finding the pH range of the site, you can further narrow done the list. Plum trees, for example, need a pH range of 5.0 to 6.0, while lime trees need a range of 6.0 to 6.5. Purchase a soil pH testing kit from your local gardening supply store and dig a six-inch hole. Follow the directions on the kit for finding the soil's pH.

  3. Look at the blossoms. Notice if they are fully open, beginning to open, or are closed. Fruit trees blossom at different times of the year. For instance, the Red Delicious apple variety blooms in the early spring, while the Rome blooms late in the growing season.

  4. Notice how much sunlight the blossoms are receiving. Most fruit trees require six to eight hours of sunlight, but there are a few that need shade. Tropical fruit such as the Garcinia can thrive in shady environments.

  5. Draw a picture of the blossom and note the colours and details with markers or coloured pencils. Fruit tree blossoms have widely different shapes. Cherry trees have small pinkish to white flowers, while orange trees have white elongated petals.

  6. Compare your drawing and all the other observations you have made with horticultural guides or with the descriptions of fruit blossoms on the Plant-Care.com website.

  7. Tip

    Take a picture of the blossoms in question and ask a local nursery about the identification of the plant.

    Warning

    Avoid tearing off a branch of the tree to help identify the blossoms. Wounds made in the tree can invite fungal infections.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • Markers
  • Coloured pencils

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