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Fruit Tree Dormancy

By on January 05, 2012

Our nursery filled with dormant fruit trees

How can we send you trees in a box? Because the fruit and nut trees are dormant right now!

As long as the bare root trees are kept cool (38°F to 45°F) and the roots stay moist, the trees can be shipped in one of these sturdy boxes.

What is Dormancy?

Dormancy (from the Latin dormire, to sleep) is the sleeping or resting state of a tree or plant.

In fall, as daylight decreases and temperatures drop, trees react by producing growth inhibitor hormones. The hormones tell the trees to stop growing and the trees subside into their wintertime rest or dormant state.

During dormancy many kinds of pruning can be done without damaging the tree. In our video, Tricia and Keith show how our bare root fruit and nut trees are pruned and packed for shipping. When the bare root trees arrive at your home or farm they will be heeled in or planted. Once planted, they are pruned again to create an easy-to-harvest tree. Watch our fruit tree pruning video to see just how dramatic these healthy pruning cuts can be.

When Does Dormancy End?

Each variety of tree has a different time when it breaks dormancy. Trees react to the weather and break dormancy after a specific amount of cold weather, measured as chill hours. The cold temperatures cause the decline of the growth inhibitors, and the trees begin to grow again.

Many parts of the U.S. are having unusually warm winter weather. Trees and plants are able to maintain dormancy during short bursts of warm weather, otherwise growth would start, then freeze when the normal winter weather returned.

Make plans for your home orchard, with help from our Fruit Tree Central, a complete guide to our online educational resources about fruit and nut trees. Then order bare root trees and look forward to these big boxes appearing at your front door.

For more information try some of our favorite books on the subject: The Home Orchard from UC Davis, Landscaping with Fruit, and The Fruit Gardener’s Bible.


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