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By Ann Baggaley

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Freestanding trees may not require pruning at all. Fruits may need thinning out if growth is heavy (see image, left), to encourage larger fruits to form. ” Thin out any remaining fruits to leave around 2–5 in (5–10 cm) between them. HARVESTING Plums and gages should be ready to harvest in midsummer; damsons in midfall. Leave plums that you plan to eat to ripen on the tree, and squeeze them gently to test—when they are soft to the touch they are ready to pick. Plums to be used for cooking can be harvested earlier and will keep a little longer in the refrigerator.

Pick while hard and ripen in storage. 0 5 1 q 7 2 unsuitable for containers late fall to late winter good resistance hardy needs 1 pollenizer (mid) early fall ‘Luscious’ ‘D’Anjou’ Bred for fire blight resistance, this is a good choice for colder areas. The excellent fruits are bright yellow with a red blush. Its pollen is sterile, so plant it near two other varieties to ensure that all trees are pollinated. Characterized by its green skin even when ripe, mild, juicy ‘D’Anjou’ is a popular winter pear.

HARVESTING Depending on the variety you grow, you may have apples ready to harvest as early as midsummer, but the timing of the harvest is crucial. If you harvest fruits too soon, you may keep them from developing their full flavor; too late and they may not store well. Ripe apples should pull away from the tree easily; do not rip them away or you could damage the spur. Be careful not to bruise the fruits as you remove and store them. Fruits will not all ripen at exactly the same time, and if you have varieties with different harvesting seasons, you may be able to pick for many months.

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