“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. – Brian O’Driscoll”
If your reading this and it’s not autumn or winter then we recommend you wait until then. When spring comes the fruit trees come out of their dormant state and put on new growth. Planting or re potting a tree when it’s trying to put on new growth can sometimes kill it. This is not always the case and there’s always an exception to every rule, so bear this in mind. Failing that, keep them in their pots until November then you can put them in the ground. If you don’t have a choice then make sure you give the tree the best start possible by following the steps below.
Choosing A Fruit Tree
Whether your planting an orchard or a single fruit tree there are a number of things to consider before making your purchase. Do you want a three year old tree or a one year old tree? A one year old tree is likely to cost a third of the price, but you have to wait three times as long for fruit. Then there’s your supplier. It really is worth taking the extra time to talk with and perhaps even visit the supplier. Does the person blow you away with their knowledge? Is there a good after sales service? Is all of that worth the extra cost?
Preparing Your Fruit Tree
We only install three year old trees meaning there’s only one year to wait for fruit. In this culture many of us want to be instantly gratified, so asking people to wait three to four years for fruit is a big ask. Nevertheless no matter the age of a fruit tree you will need to soak the roots before you plant. Anywhere between four and eight hours should do it. Don’t be afraid to soak them for up to twelve hours if the climate is dry when planting out.
Preparing The Planting Hole
While the tree is soaking prepare the planting hole. A quick and easy way to work out the size of the hole that is required is to use the pot that the tree came in. You want the hole to be three times the diameter of the pot and one and a half times as deep. If the tree’s came to you as bare root trees, then the hole needs to be twice the size of the root ball and around 30cm deep. Make sure you fork the bottom and sides to allow water to exit the planting hole.
Once you have done this then fill the hole with water and see if the water drains away. Come back in a few hours and if the water is still there then consider planting somewhere else. Now that your happy to go ahead and plant, make sure the bottom of the hole has the following. Grit for drainage, compost, bone meal & mycorrhiza for nutrients and root development. We recommend adding these as a minimum requirement. Adding seaweed & rock dust will also only help things along. If the tree is a dwarf fruit tree make sure the graft remains above the soil to remain on the grafting stock. Should the tree take root above the graft you will loose that dwarfing stock and the tree will revert to it’s original genetics.
Staking & Pruning
All trees need to be staked and supported without fail. Is there is a chance of pests like rabbits or deer eating your young fruit trees? If so then take the necessary measures by installing tree guards. Fruit trees pruned winter are stimulated to grow more but reduces cropping. Winter pruning will also encourage root growth and produces larger leaves. Summer pruning is essential for managing tree size, for extra fruit bud formation and for diverting energy to fruit growth.
We hope you find this information useful when choosing and planting fruit trees.
Until next time. Learn as you grow.
Your friendly Suburban Farmer – Edible Gardens Team
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