Planting your fruit tree

Planting your fruit tree

An important consideration when choosing where to plant a fruit tree is soil drainage. Fruit trees will not thrive in soil that drains too slowly. You can test for drainage by digging a hole about l foot (30cm) deep and filling it with water. The hole should drain within 3 hours.

Dig the hole. Go down about 18" and, with a pitchfork, fork the bottom and sides of the hole to loosen the soil.

Sprinkle compost on the bottom of the hole.

Put some dirt back in the hole, leaving a mound in the center.

Set tree in hole with the root ball on top of the mound. The graft line of the tree should be about 3" above the ground. Adjust the height of the mound if necessary.

Spread roots evenly in all directions.

Fill hole with soil and firm gently with your foot. Check that the tree is vertical. Be sure to 'overfill' the hole so the soil is an inch or two above ground level. The soil will compress when watered, and settle to ground level.

Stake if necessary. Tie tree to stake with a rubber tie or piece of cloth. The tie should be loose so as not to girdle the tree. Allow plenty of room for the trunk to thicken.

Mulch around the base of the tree with grass clippings. Be sure to keep graft line clear of mulch so it remains above ground.

Fence if necessary. Deer will eat the bark of young trees, given the opportunity.