How To Plant A Fruit Tree?

This article would be better named how to plant a tree because the planting process is the same for all trees, whether it be flower trees, fruits trees or evergreen trees.


Planting fruit trees

Most often than not your fruit tree plant would come in a container. Your task would be to transplant it from the container onto your garden soil.

Most people make the mistake of digging up a wide hole and filling it up with the best soil and organic matter available, then plant the fruit tree there. It is not advisable to do this with trees, here’s why.

Most trees need to grow their roots wide in order to grow tall and have a thick trunk. If you pamper the roots of the young tree plant initially, they will never grow beyond the boundaries of the hole. The tree would then have a stunted growth.

Let your tree grow in the native soil of your garden, all trees have a sturdy grow and the type of soil has little impact on them.

If you are planning to plant a fruit tree at a site which was built upon previously, then it is a different scenario altogether. The top soil would be dry, full of stones and debris. In this case you should follow the initial soil preparation steps given below

  • Dig up a wide hole which is at least 20 inches deep, you can take a judgment call on the width of the hole. It should be wide enough to allow for future growth of the roots.
  • Removes stones and gravel from the soil you dig up, and mix it with organic compost, loam, dehydrated manure and top soil from your garden or from somewhere nearby.
  • Backfill this mixed soil in the hole.

Now that you have the soil prepared, it is time to move on to the actual step of planting

Planting A Fruit Tree

Fruit tree plants can be purchased in three different forms

  • As a container tree
  • As a bareroot tree
  • As a burlapped tree (root ball in soil burlapped in a sack)

The way you plant all these plants would be the same. One tip to be followed with all these plants is to trim them out. Cut off most of the new shoots and branches, leaving just three or four main branches.

Triming the new plant before planting it would ensure that more nutrition is used up in building up the roots instead of feeding the existing branches. Once the roots become sturdy new branches would grow at a better pace.

Steps to plant a fruit tree are given below

  • Dig up a hole thrice as wide as the size of the root ball. The depth of the hole can be slightly more than the height of the root ball.
  • Create a small mound like structure at the bottom of the pit by backfilling the soil.
  • Rest the plant on top of this mound and spread the roots on the mound.
  • Set the tree at the ground level at which it was growing previously in the container. You can find this level quite easily by seeing the soil mark on the stem.
  • Hold the tree straight and steady while you backfill the soil into the hole. You might need assistance from a second person to accomplish this task.
  • After layering some soil, water it to remove any air bracket and then add the next layer of soil till you fill the hole.
  • Create a small basin on the soil around the hole, this basin is helpful for watering the trees.
  • Mulch around the trees using dried algae, peat moss, dry bark or pine seeds to help retain water. This would also prevent weeds and pest from invading the new plant.
  • Add some support for the new plant to grow strong. Usually two or three stake around the plant would do the job.

It is important to take care of the watering needs of the tree during its growth phase. Fertilizing the soil once in two weeks during the growth phase is found to be helpful. Once the roots take hold the fruit tree would take care of itself.

Spring is usually the best time to plant fruit trees in most regions. Depending on the tree, the timing of planting might vary.

Fruit trees plants tend to grow fast during their initial days. They try to spread and strengthen their roots. The metabolic cycle of most fruit plants is well suited for spring.

Few benefits of planting fruit trees by spring are,

  • The soil is warm and dry, this condition is suited for new plants.
  • Summer is at least three months away, this gives the new plant time to adjust to the new environment before facing the stressful heat
  • There climate is very mildly cold which is quite conducive for growth.
  • There is plenty of sun available, especially the afternoon sun. This is again is an important factor for growth of new plants.

If you live in regions where you face early spring heat, where the onset of summer is quicker, then you might need to consider planting your trees a little early.

Most trees do well during spring, but they do better if you consider the chill requirements. Some trees prefer longer hours of cold climate while some prefer shorter duration of cold hours.

So depending on your region and climate, you can consider opting between one of the type of trees, the high chill trees and the low chill trees.

The High Chill Fruit Trees & Shrubs

These trees or shrubs require cold climatic conditions to do well. The temperature range should be below 47 degree F during the planting period for them to break dormancy and grow by spring.

Several apple trees, pears and other deciduous trees are labeled according to the amount of high chill hours required for successful growth.

Some examples of high chill fruits trees and shrubs are

  • Apple: 400-1800 hours of chill
  • Pears: 400-600
  • Cherry: 700-1300
  • Blueberry (northern): 700-1200 hours of chill
  • Currant: 800-1500 hours of chill
  • Gooseberry: 800-1500 hours of chill

The Low Chill Tress & Shrubs

These fruits grow well in mild climates. If the climate gets too cold for too long, they tend to die away. The number of chill hours that can be tolerated by these fruit trees or shrubs would be very less, for some it might even be zero.

Some examples of low chill fruit trees and shrubs are

  • Avocado: 0 hours of chills
  • Pomegranate: 100-200 hours
  • Citrus: 0 hours of chill
  • Kiwi: 200 hours of chill
  • Blackberry: 200 – 700 hours of chill
  • Grape: 100-500 hours of chill

You can check up with your local cooperative extension or the nursery on the chill requirements of the fruit tree you are planning to buy. If you are ordering the tree online, you can go through the chill requirements or talk to a call center executive on the same.

Pines are fast growing evergreen trees and are usually the favorites, but there are also other beautiful evergreen trees with different types of leaves which you can choose from.

Most fast growing evergreen trees have lush foliage and they don’t lose their leaves come fall. They have a tendency to grow quickly so place them in a location which will not cause it to collide with your house.

Evergreen with their thick foliage offer several benefits as listed below

  • It grows fast enough
  • Its leaves are dense and thick providing privacy
  • It works great as a wind breaker
  • It thrives easily in conditions of drought
  • It protects and shade your house amply

The different types of evergreen trees you can choose from are listed below

Needle leafed or needled fast growing evergreen trees?

These trees look great on any landscape. Examples of fast growing needled evergreen trees are,

  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Yew
  • Larch
  • Dawn redwood

Larch and redwood are special cases, since they shed their leaves off during fall and grow afresh by spring.

Nowadays there are bred varieties of evergreens which don’t grow too tall and look compact. Try to go in for these varieties instead of the plain ones which might grow to be monsters.

Fast growing dwarf needled evergreens

Perfect if you have small or mid sized garden. These dwarf evergreens are also called dwarf conifers. Dwarf evergreens might grow to be 15 feet high or at times slightly less than that also.

You can arrange several dwarf trees in a row to form a thick fence. The lush foliage makes it look beautiful.

A few ideas for planting dwarf evergreens are,

  • As a hedge
  • For lining your pathway
  • As an side edging for your flowering plants

Fast growing broad leafed evergreens

These trees look very gracious in any landscape. They are several flowering and fruit bearing trees in this variety. They don’t lose their leaves or discolor during fall.

Plant the trees along the regions in your garden where you want a project a look of grandeur.

Examples of broad leafed evergreens are,

  • Olive
  • Holly
  • Citrus trees
  • Ironwood
  • Magnolia
  • Bay laurel
  • Strawberry tree

You can choose from a selection of these trees depending upon the space inhibitions of your garden. Make sure you have adequate room space for these evergreen as they tend to grow very fast and can quickly cramp the nearby plants if you are not careful.