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Landscaping: Fruit Trees

By: Cynthia Laferrière

Landscaping: Fruit Trees

By: Cynthia Laferrière

Exterior renovationsLandscaping: Fruit Trees

Are you finally ready to tackle your landscaping project and the idea of planting a fruit tree beckons? After all, there is nothing better than enjoying fresh fruit harvested right in your backyard!

Still, deciding on the best type of tree for your yard among the wide variety of options is not to be taken lightly, especially since it will be there for decades to come.

Also, educating yourself on the care and maintenance of your tree may save you from unnecessary expenses; it would be annoying and frustrating should your plant die despite your best efforts or should you find that you do not have enough time to devote to it.


Basics of Fruit Trees

apple tree_fruit tree landscape designs

Source: Canva

Above all, it is crucial to select a species according to the overall condition of your yard. Although most trees seek optimal sunlight and well-drained soil, other criteria will directly influence growth, fruit production, and even the rest of your yard.

When purchasing, consider the following: 

  • Level of sunlight required;
  • Ideal soil composition (neutral or acidic);
  • Space needed to sustain a mature tree (note that potted plants are a possibility to save space);
  • Various nearby structures (e.g. to prevent roots from damaging a pipe or pavement).

There are two main classifications of fruit trees: Pome trees, such as apple and pear trees, and stone trees, such as cherry and plum trees. The latter are more delicate, so it is essential to limit pruning to every two to three years, as it is impossible for them to produce fruit on the same branch two years in a row. However, if you want to have fresh fruit every year, ensure that you preserve more branch-producing buds to have new sources to fertilize.

Some species will grow fruit from the pollen produced by the flowers themselves (self-fertile), while others will need a second tree nearby to be fertilized. There are also plants sold with two compatible trees grafted onto the same tree. If you are not at all familiar with the matter, it is preferable to purchase from small tree nurseries; the employees are well-trained and will be able to give you more information than in large department stores, all the while really assessing your needs.

Also worth knowing: You are required by law to prevent insects or diseases from spreading to your crops, especially if you sell or market your fruit. Some of the problems to watch out for include apple scab, codling moth, apple maggot, canker, fire blight, and pheromone attacks. Setting up a bait trap will help you determine what species are circling your plants and how to react. Ask your municipality about your obligations and required regulations.


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How to Plant Fruit Trees or Fruiting Shrubs

While gardening during the spring or summer is often more fun and enjoyable, these periods are definitely not ideal for planting fruit trees or fruiting shrubs. Rising temperatures and droughts will ruin your chances of seeing your tree bloom. However, the end of November is a perfect time.

It may be worthwhile to protect your tree from rodents or wind with a plastic tree guard at the base of the trunk or a stake securely fastened with a wide tie; these can be removed after two years. If your fruit tree is of a dwarf variety, it is best to leave these devices in place for its entire life.


Planting a Container-Grown Tree

fruit tree

Source: Canva

Planting a container tree means your chosen tree was grown in a pot and is now at its final stage of growth. The pot also helps contain the entire root system, which will be much less harmful to the tree when you eventually replant it in your garden.

Aside from a somewhat steeper cost, there are benefits to this method. First, it allows you to plant these trees at a time other than in the fall. Second, there are countless choices, both in species and size. Lastly, the rooting success rate is higher than that of a bare-root tree.

Avoid the following when purchasing a container tree:

  • Rot and bunting at the roots;
  • Stained or insect-infested branches and leaves
  • Light or peat substrate (heavy and dense = quality).

Start by digging a hole. Ideally, it should be twice as wide and deep as the size of the root ball of your tree. Place the removed soil on a tarp or bag; this will make it easier to backfill!

To encourage rooting, lightly break apart the root ball, but avoid damaging the roots to ensure that they will spread more easily once the tree is planted. Then add a bit of mycorrhiza or fertilizer designed for rooting to the bottom of the cavity. To facilitate this step, soak the root ball in water beforehand, thus rendering it easier to work.

Lastly, position your tree in the centre of the hole dug in the soil. Note that if your soil is primarily clayey, you will need to position the branch collar higher than the soil level by creating a mound of soil.

Fill in the hole with soil and compost. Press down the area, water it generously, then add mulch. For subsequent waterings, sink about five centimetres of one finger into the soil. If the soil is still wet, there is no need to water your tree further.


Planting a Bare-Root Tree

fruit tree

Source: Canva

Contrary to the container-grown tree, the bare-root tree is grown in the ground before being dug up for resale. The roots are not contained in the ground inside a pot, therefore they are exposed to the elements.

You should plant your trees within two days of purchasing. Prior to doing so, remove any damaged or overgrown roots and soak the root ball in a tree-specific mixture to provide an ideal moisture level for rooting. This kind of mixture is often made of water, soil, and manure. Then, follow the same steps as previously described.

The tree trunk must be straight, so it is best to plant a bare-root tree with the help of another person. While one holds the tree, the other can backfill the hole.


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Fruit Tree Care and Maintenance: When and How to Prune It?

fruit tree

Source: Canva

During the first five years of your tree's life, pruning will consist of improving and strengthening its structure, without harvesting any fruit. In the case of a dwarf tree, two years may be sufficient. Afterwards, you will have to prune it to ensure its natural protection against certain diseases, balance the weight of the fruits on its branches, and encourage the production of quality fruits.

Prune during the winter, but never during the frost period. The best time to prune is between leaf fall and before the appearance of buds. A stone tree should be pruned in the fall, while a pome tree should be pruned around February, before rebirth.

Safety first, always! A tripod stepladder is more stable than a twin stepladder or a simple ladder. Also, leave it to a professional if you have any doubts or if the branches are too heavy for you to handle.

Required tools & equipment:

  • Protective gloves;
  • Pruning shears;
  • Branch cutters;
  • Snips;
  • Stepladder or ladder.

To figure out which branches should be cut, bear in mind that horizontal branches produce more fruit than vertical ones. However, do not remove all vertical branches, as you also need leafy branches for photosynthesis. Also, shorten the horizontal fruiting branches a bit as the weight of the fruit will eventually cause them to give way.

If you have a young tree that needs shaping, select three to four of the best horizontal branches to determine its structure before removing the rest. In the case of a mature tree, only 10 to 20% of its branches should be removed.

Being able to recognize the different types of buds could be very helpful when pruning. Trees have both flower buds, which will eventually blossom into fruit, and growth buds, which produce branches.

Growth buds are usually teardrop-shaped. The flower bud is more rounded. On a branch measuring roughly three to four feet, the ideal ratio is five flower buds for two growth buds. Keep this in mind before you start a massive clearing!

Use sharp, clean pruning shears. Remove all dead or seriously damaged branches first, then remove the branches growing at the base of the trunk. These never get enough natural light and suck up too many nutrients.

Then, slowly prune at a bevel to create an angle that will prevent rainwater from trickling down onto nearby buds. Take a step back from time to time to assess the progress of your work and avoid over-pruning. If you need to cut a large branch, for safety reasons, do so in small sections and start with the very tip of the branch.

Keep the area around your tree well-maintained. Weeding, mowing, and leaf removal will all contribute to the continued growth and health of the tree.


Here you are, ready and willing to enjoy your harvests! The whole world of orchards and fruit trees is worth discovering. To learn more about pollination, fertilization, and the many types of buds not mentioned in this article (shepherd's purse, fruiting spurs, flowering shoots, fruiting shoots, and many more), or to consult expert advice, visit the Montréal Botanical Garden library.

Get 3 quotes for your fruit tree landscaping project can help you get quotes for your fruit tree landscaping project. If you submit your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.

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Last modified 2023-06-05

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Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean and dry the pool cover before storing it until next winter. Clean the bottom of your pool with a pool brush or pole. You can also pour in a pool degreaser to facilitate the cleaning process. Step 2: Plug in the pool filter and other equipment This next step consists of plugging in your pool’s filter system. Before turning on the filter, make sure it’s correctly fitted. Also, verify that all other equipment (skimmers, nozzles, lighting, pumps and filters) is properly connected and in good condition. Make sure that all connections are firmly secured. Are you looking for experts for your landscaping project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Step 3: Vacuum After plugging in all equipment and ensuring their proper functioning, set the pool filter to “Waste” and clean the bottom of the pool with a pool vacuum. Also, clean the filter’s skimmer basket to maximize debris extraction. For more effective cleaning, run the pool for about 5 hours. Step 4: Analyze pool water To prevent potential skin irritation or diseases, it’s best to analyze and treat the pool water. You can either take a sample of the water to a pool professional or use a DIY water test kit to monitor the water’s total alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness. In the event of a problem, ask a specialist for the right products. And there you have it! Your pool should be good to go! Now you take that well-deserved first dip. What products should you use first to perform a pool shock treatment? A pool shock treatment is an essential step in purifying your pool's water. It effectively eliminates microbes and algae, restoring the water to a healthy and pristine state. Start by slightly increasing the water level compared to normal, while simultaneously pouring a degreaser straight into the water. Allow it to take effect for a minimum of 24 hours, meanwhile, you can clean the area surrounding your pool. Run the filter system and set it to "Waste" mode. Empty and refit the basket several times to remove any residual dirt. Increase the pool water level once again and backwash your pool. Use the products found in your starter kit and backwash your pool once more. We strongly recommend that you run your pump, uninterrupted, for at least 24 hours to have crystal-clear water. When Is the Right Time to Open an In-Ground Pool? Source: Canva The general recommendation is to open an in-ground pool after the ice melts, typically around mid-April. However, the specific timing may vary based on your geographical location. Note that algae growth typically occurs as the water’s temperature rises. CAA-Quebec recommends opening a pool prior to water temperatures reaching 21°C. Thus, it’s best to open it as soon as possible to mitigate algae growth. If the algae start lining your pool, it will render the cleaning process much more difficult. Moreover, this will help limit the amount of pollen vacuumed by the filter system. Another benefit of opening your pool sooner rather than later is that it'll allow you to look over its general condition and repair any equipment that may have been damaged during the winter months. You'll then be able to enjoy your pool, worry-free, all summer long. Pool Opening Tips Here are a few useful tips to successfully open your pool: If this is your first time opening your pool, it’s best to have the company that installed it perform the work. A pool professional will carry out a complete inspection to spot any potential anomalies before the warranty period expires. Regularly maintain your pool to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape throughout the summer months as it’ll ensure quality water and an extended service life. Remember to change the sand in your filter every 4 years.

8 min read

N/A 26 Apr 2023

Building a Sturdy and Durable Deck Structure

During the summer months, decks make for an entirely new living space in your backyard. It's the perfect spot to savour your first cup of coffee in the morning, share meals with your family, gather with friends for drinks, and, in the evening, wind down with a good book in hand. While numerous articles focus solely on decks, this particular one offers a unique blend of depth and superficiality. It delves into comprehensive information about deck structures, while also providing a cost overview of long-lasting coating options. Learn more about deck structures, including their materials and components, and gain insight into the step-by-step building stages of treated wood, ground-level decks. Different Deck Structures Source: Canva Structural strength guarantees the durability of your deck and, therefore, of your investment. While rebuilding the deck's platform might be relatively simple after a few years, the same cannot be said for its framework. The structure must be securely anchored, carefully designed to withstand freeze-thaw weather conditions, and made from the highest quality materials. All of which ensures its strength and durability. You have to consider the following: High-quality wood has fewer knots and is typically more resistant. The chosen materials have to withstand the harsh Eastern winters. The whole can’t allow any sort of water build-up. The beams and frame must be covered with a membrane to shield them from water. The structure has to withstand repeated freeze-thaw cycles. The materials can’t be affected by moisture. The spacing between the planks must allow water to run off. Foundation When building a wooden deck, it’s important to raise the structure above ground level. Piles, Sonotubes, or cinder blocks can support the deck. It should never be directly on the ground since moisture will lead to the structure’s premature deterioration. A cinder block-supported structure will move according to freeze-thaw cycles. Sonotubes and piles are a more structurally sound option. The latter must be driven 4 feet underground, below the frost line. PRO TIP: It isn’t necessary to use hangers. However, note that with time and excess weight from the deck, the screws can bend and break. Hangers allow even load distribution and guarantee a sturdy, durable structure. Aluminum Decking Source: Canva While decks are typically built with treated wood, others opt for aluminum decking, which is often seen with balconies and patios. Aluminum deck structures have sure advantages: Maintenance-free Especially sturdy Has excellent durability over time It’s lightweight compared to wooden structures It minimizes environmental impact It’s available in a variety of colours to blend in with the décor Are you looking for experts for your deck or balcony project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What deck base material is best used? Source: Canva A deck’s framework isn’t solely built for the purpose of bearing the intended load, but also for fluctuating temperatures, which will lead to ground motions due to freeze-thaw cycles. To ensure the deck’s sturdiness, make sure the foundation is sound. Concrete Piles (Sonotube) It's a well-proven, standard method. However, it should be carried out properly. Ideally, digging should be done with a mini-excavator rather than by hand or with an auger. The piles should be at least 8 inches wide, made with reinforced concrete (rebar), and rest against a 24 in. x 24 in. base, 54 inches deep at most. Albeit quite costly, it’s often the best option when building a heavy and imposing structure like a sunroom or veranda. Deck Screw Piles Although relatively new, this method has also been tried and tested. You need specific equipment to screw tubular metal piles into the ground. It's the preferred option for small or already landscaped areas since it's less intrusive. Which to choose: 2 in. x 6 in. or 2 in. x 8 in. rim joists? A 2 in. x 6 in. structure will buckle under the slightest overload. The structure itself is definitely not where you want to try to cut corners. When you're building a structure, think long-term. Consider durability...and sturdiness. A trained professional might opt for 2 in. X 8 in. boards when building the deck frame. As such, the structure will be more stable and durable, and you'll be able to space out the ground supports. Treated Decking Source: Canva Treated wood is the most used deck-building material in Quebec. No wonder. It's an easy-to-work, versatile product that's less expensive than most of the competing products and blends well with any and all décor and home architecture. Since it was designed to withstand our climate and the test of time, you’ll simply have to maintain it somewhat to preserve it and enjoy it for the next 10 to 15 years. Since it's durable, it offsets the fact that it can't be salvaged or burned. Since 2004, the chemicals used to make it weather-, moisture- and insect-resistant have been much less toxic. However, it doesn’t render it eco-friendly by any stretch of the imagination. Copper is among the chemical agents used to treat wood. Since it’ll likely cause the screws, nails, and hangers to corrode, the different elements used to build the deck’s structure must be in compliance with the ACQ (Association de la construction du Québec). They're mainly made of galvanized steel, which makes them ideal for all outdoor projects. Pros of Using PVC Deck Membranes Is your deck still structurally sound, but the boards making up the platform appear weak? If you want to save a bit of time and energy for the next 15 to 20 years to come, the PVC membrane is a worthwhile option. It’s a really versatile decking, ideal year-round. It’s waterproof and anti-slip in winter and is able to withstand summer temperatures without overheating. PVC membranes are a convenient and affordable way to give your décor a stylish look while also extending the service life of your deck. It's available in a variety of shades, formats, textures, and patterns, so there's truly something for all preferences. PVC membranes can be installed on treated wood, fibreglass, or concrete. It protects the surface it covers and prevents deterioration. The membrane is adhesively sealed to the surface, while watertight joints ensure maximum water resistance. It’s actually used to cover rooftop decks! PVC membranes are aesthetic, waterproof, durable and, above all, maintenance-free, and are ideal for decking, balconies, patios, and stairs. How to Build a Ground-Level Deck Source: Canva Are you planning on building a deck? Whether you're carrying out the work yourself or hiring a professional, the key is having a clear picture of the various steps involved. Bear in mind that you'll need a plan and permit issued by your municipality before you can greenlight your project. Building a patio, balcony, veranda, or deck absolutely must comply with the Quebec Construction Code. Building the framework Choose where the first landing—the one nearest the ground—will be located. Next, mark the spot where the dek-blocks will sit, roughly 8 feet apart. For every block, dig a hole that’s slightly bigger than the block, 6 inches deep. Fill it with tightly packed stone dust, then drop the cinder block in. Build the deck’s perimeter square using 2 in. x 8 in. planks. Instructions: Position the rim joists against the support blocks, then screw them together. For additional support, double the rim joists. Running parallel to the rim joists in the middle of the structure, fasten the centre joist by securing two 2 in. x 8 in. planks. Before moving forward, make sure everything is perfectly squared off and level (both diagonals must be the same length). Remove the grass under the structure and cover the ground with a geotextile barrier to prevent grass and weeds from growing. Cover the barrier with an inch of 0-¾ crushed stones. Secure the metal hangers to the joists with galvanized steel nails. Fit the 2 in. x 8 in. planks into the hangers—they'll make up the structure's joists—and nail them in. Fit spacers between the joists. Building the top landing Determine the height of the deck’s rim joist by positioning a 2 in. x 8 in. board against the house’s exterior wall. Use a level to ensure it’s straight. Use a hammer drill bit to drill holes where the anchors will be affixed. Anchor the plank to the building. Once the first section is correctly positioned, secure the second one. Outline the top landing by positioning the joists. The second landing will rest against the lower landing and, as such, has to overhang to such an extent that it can be secured with 4 in. x 4 in. posts. Verify that the structure is properly squared off and level. (Both diagonals must be the same length.) Use galvanized steel nails to secure the metal hangers to the joists, 12 inches apart. Install the 2 in. x 8 in. planks in the hangers to create joists. Nail the joists into the hangers and install spacers between every joist. Install the planks that will make up the deck’s platform on both landings, starting with the outermost section.

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