Fruit tree care questions
Hello - I've searched the archives for answers, and found a few tangential discussions about fruit trees, but couldn't puzzle out the exact answers to a few questions. Also tried OSU fact sheets, but in general, they seem to say "spray, spray, spray" and while I'm not opposed to some spray intervention, it's not the default choice for me to try first.
Sooooo... we have a plum, peach and pear tree at our new house. I've heard tell of a pecan tree, too, but it may have either been cut down before we moved in or it is still dormant-ish/dead. For the plum and peach, we had great flowering and have tons of small fruits now. I read something in an old thread that mentioned "thinning" the fruit. Can someone explain the process to me?
Do I have to begin a spraying schedule if I hope to have any fruit? The fact sheet says I needed to start spraying before blossoms even appeared (that ship has long since sailed).
The trees are not in great shape, the peach being nearly horizontal from some kind of disaster earlier in life, but looks like it is producing just fine anyway. The plum has several large dead branches and just a few good viable ones. Should I get a book on pruning and follow that to try and trim these up to be their best? Do fruit trees have different pruning needs than a regular tree?
We found out earlier this spring we have a young pear (if the stink from the flowers was any judge) but I was guessing it was a Bradford or something. However, the owner told my husband that there was an Asian pear (I think) that gives actual pear fruit, and later, we had a different tree bloom white flowers all over and I began to think THAT was the edible pear and the stinky one was just for cross-pollination. Do edible pear blooms smell? The limbs are rather high up so I didn't get much of a whiff, and I wonder how we will actually get to any pears that form. That tree is being swallowed by the bamboo grove, so I'm going to try and beat back the 'boo, but even so, it's still very high.
Any input from the home orchardist contingent would be much appreciated!
Here is a link that might be useful: This was the OSU Fact Sheet