Magazine

Your Home: The Joy of Gardening

The giving trees

Pears, apples, peaches, and cherries in your own backyard — experts and home gardeners share advice on the most fruitful choices for New England.

Any fruit tree in bloom is a vision of beauty and cultivated with little effort, but the fruit is harder to come by. Frank Bissett of Northborough sprays his trees--all of them about 20-foot semi-dwarfs--each March with dormant oil, a refined-petroleum product designed to smother pests and some diseases. He also treats them in April with a general-purpose orchard spray, using a Mantis sprayer. “I limit my spraying. I don’t try to grow perfect fruit. I grow fruit I can eat.” But what if you don’t want to spray at all? Orchardists, growers, and home gardeners share advice on the most fruitful trees for New England backyards, including varieties and growing techniques that produce fruit without spraying.