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There are many fruit tree growers who sell trees to either commercial farmers or to those who wish to grow fruit from trees for personal consumption. Most fruit tree growers have farms, or nurseries, where trees are kept until they are ready to be moved. Usually, tree are not moved for the first few years of growth or until they reach a height of at least three to four feet (90 to 120 centimeters).
Fruit tree growers typically have quite large operations, and are prepared to supply large commercial farms with young trees. Orchards supplying or selling fruit to the public generally buy their young trees from nurseries rather than growing them from seeds. These nurseries often have a large variety of trees in their catalog, and are constantly turning them over to farms and home gardeners.
Depending on the climate zone, a single nursery will typically have the ability to grow a specific variety of fruit trees, while unable to grow others. Most fruit tree growers will understand and provide information on where their plants will grow, in order to ensure that their customers will be able to continue to successfully grow the trees. Fruit tree nurseries work together with seed specialists to ensure that they are using the best seed varieties. This could include new breeds of fruits or specialized varieties that are known to be disease or drought resistant. Additionally, many fruit tree growers may keep some trees until they bear fruit in order to use the seeds for future planting.
To purchase trees from some small scale fruit growers, the buyer will have to visit the nursery and take the tree away themselves. Most larger operations will ship orders to customers, typically offering price breaks for larger orders. Shipping in bulk is also traditionally less expensive.
Fruit trees are prepared for shipping by growers during the winter months. This is done to prevent any possible losses during the warmer growing months. Once the ground has thawed, trees and their root systems are cut out, often mechanically, and packaged for sale and shipping. When the young trees are taken from the ground, some of the roots are lost, which makes pruning an important and critical step for the new planter.
The planting area at a nursery must have full sun, which means it is not in the shade for any part of the day. Also, good drainage is typically required by fruit trees, making it a top priority for fruit tree growers. Gravel is often used as a layer in the soil at nurseries because it allows for maximum drainage. Seasonal pruning, which varies according to tree type, is another important task for fruit tree growers.