Yard and Garden: Handling Newly Planted Fruit-Bearing Plants

June 7, 2017, 3:52 pm | Richard Jauron, Greg Wallace

AMES, Iowa – Going through the process of planting fruit-bearing plants for gardens and landscapes is exciting, but it does require some patience. Not all plants are ready to bear fruit immediately, and it might be smart to exercise caution.

ISU Extension and Outreach horticulturists can help answer your questions about how to best handle new plantings. 

Should I allow newly planted strawberries to produce fruit?

During the first growing season, all the blossoms should be removed from June-bearing strawberries. Check the strawberry plants once a week and remove the blossoms by pinching or cutting. June-bearing strawberries should stop flowering by early July.  

Remove the flowers on everbearing and day-neutral strawberries for six weeks after planting to allow for good plant establishment. Later flowers may be allowed to develop into fruit.

Strawberry Plant

Should a newly planted apple tree be allowed to bear fruit? 

It’s generally best to remove all fruit that form on apple and other fruit trees during their first two growing seasons. Removal of the fruit maximizes shoot and root growth and increases yields in later years.

When should I allow blueberries to produce fruit?

Blueberry plants should not be allowed to bear fruit the first two years after planting. Any blossoms that form should be removed. Removal of the flowers promotes vegetative growth and increases yields in later years.

When can I begin to harvest newly planted rhubarb?

After planting rhubarb, it’s best to wait two years (growing seasons) before harvesting any stalks. Rhubarb can be harvested over a four week period in the third year. In the fourth and succeeding years, stalks can be harvested for eight to ten weeks. 

After planting asparagus, how long do I need to wait before a crop can be harvested?

Asparagus plants should be allowed to become well established before any spears are harvested. No spears should be harvested during the first growing season. Asparagus can be harvested over a three-to-four-week period during its second growing season. In following years, asparagus plantings can be harvested until early to mid-June.  

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