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Grow a Tree (and some equity) Part 1


Grow a Tree (and some equity) Part 1

by Robert Bialkin

We know the Chinese Proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Of course this applies to many things in life, but especially to actual trees and even more so to fruiting trees and plants. When showing homes to prospective home buyers, I often find that they share an affinity for mature fruit trees and seem to give them exceptional value when considering a property. In my opinion, fruit trees are a great way to make enjoyable use of a property while living there and to increase desirability for many prospective buyers.

While I am no master gardener I do consider myself a novice collector of fruiting plants and trees. I am even a member of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers Club.

I highly recommend joining this group if you are seeking expert knowledge from a large group of highly-skilled local gardeners. They host active online forums and meet for events such as tours, tastings, and my favorite: the Sonoma County Heirloom Festival.

Some of these folks tell me when planting a tree to buy the $10-20 sapling then start it in the ground where its roots will not be restricted by a pot. They say this will allow it to grow even bigger after two years than the 2-year old tree I would buy from Urban Tree Farm in Santa Rosa (another one of my favorite places). However, my novice preference is to pay $50-100 for the larger 3 to 5-year-old trees. This generally means I get fruit the first year and a strong healthy tree that is less susceptible to frost and sun. I figure I will spend at least the same amount of money in water (not to mention time without fruit) over those years. In a way, you actually CAN buy time. Those same folks also tell me to pick off all the immature fruit in those early years to promote growth, but once again so far I have not been able to resist harvesting as soon as possible.

There is something very satisfying about picking one’s own fruit, especially with basic organic fruits such as apples and oranges selling for $2-4 a pound. Perhaps this is why many home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with trees.

Robert Bialkin is an attorney (CalBar 265854) and REALTOR® (CalBRE 01958883) and broker associate with W Real Estate (CalBRE 01795950). Not legal advice, but hopefully still helpful.