Imagine never having to buy apples from the store, you could simply walk outside and pick one out of your garden. Of course, planting (and then harvesting) fruit trees is a lot of hard work, and the trees have to mature before they are ready to bear fruit. Use these tips to ensure that your trees are set up for success the minute they are planted!
1. Evaluate The Climate
Like most plants, fruit trees thrive in specific environments. For example, citrus trees tend to thrive in warmer areas. Make sure that you check before planting to see which trees work best in your area.
2. Consider Pollination
In order for the trees to do more than just blossom, pollination is required. Usually, bees do the trick, but sometimes a self pollinating tree is the best option. Tree Hugger recommends planting apples, pears, and plums if you are interested in a self pollinating tree.
3. Timing Is Everything
Much like the climate, the timing is everything when planting trees. Before planting, consult with your local nursery to find out the best time for planting. This is crucial, because a late frost can be detrimental to your tree’s health.
Starting from the time of planting, it is crucial to begin fertilizing your tree. Sunset recommends basing the fertilizing schedule on the growth of the tree. Also, use a fertilizer high in nitrogen at the beginning of the growth season, this will ensure that your tree stays healthy.
5. Control Pests and Animals
It is a no brainer that pests and diseases can cripple your trees. Sunset recommends using a dormant oil spray in the winter, this actually helps prevent issues with pest control in the spring and summer.
Newly planted trees need a lot of water. Water whenever the first two inches of the soil is dry. As soon as the root systems are developed, you can water less extensively.
7. Paint the Tree Trunk
Mother Earth News recommends applying a coat of white latex paint. Cover the trunk, and stop just two inches below the first branch. This helps prevent sunscald and premature leafing.
8. Don’t Forget the Mulch
Surround the newly planted fruit tree with crushed rock, leaf mold, wood chips, or freshly cut grass. Make sure you water thoroughly afterwards.
Dave Wilson claims that fruit trees thrive in the sun, so choose the sunniest area of your yard to plant the tree. There is one exception, if you live in an area where temperatures can exceed 114 degrees, it is better to plant the tree where it will receive some afternoon shade.
10. Planting Depth
The depth in which you plant your trees is crucial. It should be planted at the depth it was at the nursery. You should be able to determine this depth by the slight bark discoloration found on the trunk.
You wouldn’t plant your vegetables right on top of each other, so don’t do it to your fruit trees. Leave about 8 feet of room between trees. Tip from Bless My Weeds.
12. Digging The Hole
This may be the hardest part of the planting process, labor wise anyway! Make sure that the whole is wide enough to cover the entire root system. Trees are more prone to getting sick when the tree roots are bent in the hole.
This isn’t necessary for all trees, but if you live in a windy area or are worried about the trunk growing straight, consider staking down your tree. Make sure it is staked down evenly to prevent uneven tree growth.